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June 13, 2006

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Stephen Ruben

I disagree that 'help' and 'serve'are inappropriate words. Yes, they can be overused but I just don't see them as being a problem if they are meant sincerely and backed by something that can be called help or service.

Michelle

Hi Stephen, I think help, serve, assist, etc., are great words and not inappropriate at all. I particularly like the word "help." What I see a lot of though, that drives me crazy for lack of creativity, is the far too frequent repetition of those words. Our language has so many words that can more artfully (and engagingly) express how we as professional service firms can bring value to our customers that there is no reason for us to turn to the same few words over and over again. We underscore how "not different" we are when we use the same few words everyone uses. And we put readers to sleep rapidly when we repeat them over and over again.

Dennis Howlett

What's the problem with 'partner?' To me it implies the firm is willing to stand alongside the client in a way that extends beyond a financially motivated engagement. Provided is it couched in those terms and supported by other things on the site then I'd say it is a valid expression of the firm's intent.

Michelle

Hello Dennis, I hear you on that. What we object to is the blanket statement "we partner with you."

First, it's just not true. The firm is making a hefty promise as to a level of service/care/advice that they cannot possibly deliver to every, single client...just as a matter of practicality.

As you said, "it implies the firm is willing to stand alongside the client in a way that extends beyond a financially motivated engagement." This cannot be done for every client.

And not every client merits this level of service. Many couldn't afford to pay for it. And the firm sure shouldn't be committing that level of service (first class) for a customer sitting in coach.

As in the post, not every client even *wants" us to be their partner and it's somewhat presumptuous to assume they do...

We're okay with offering: "Should you want in-depth business assistance, we can partner with you to be your on-going resource for proactive advice and guidance..."

This way it's a stated capability and not a presumptuous promise.

Personally, I think there are better, more illustrative ways to communicate this available first class level of service.

Lastly, if for no other reason, too many firms make this "partner with you" promise and we aren't fans of firms that choose to sound just like everyone else.

Thanks for your question.

Dennis Howlett

Gotcha. I guess it's a case of don't promise what you can't deliver. But then I'm a firm believer in having statements validated by client statements. Preferably on podcasts where you can't fake what's said.

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