Interview with Lionel Meyer – Co-founder of Luxury Attitude
“It’s all a question of taste”
Should a company aim for 100% personalisation, unreservedly adapting to its Clients’ needs? Or should it generate ideas and suggest innovation – even if this means going against what the Clients asked for in the first place?
This was a sensitive issue in certain sectors for many years, a typical example being the restaurant service sector. Many chefs would go as far as to suggest how meat should be cooked and would only serve the dishes featured on the menu … it was generally accepted that if Clients were not happy with their suggestions, they could simply choose something else or even go elsewhere… Today, however, international competition and consumer power have reached such a point that companies need to be more attentive to their Clients’ needs.
Our Clients can do whatever they want, when they want … without our help. So it follows that when they do call upon our services, they expect the level of quality to be – at the very least – equal to what they can provide for themselves. We are at their service and even if we do not share our Clients’ point of view, we are duty-bound to respect their choices. We may agree that the Argentine beef ordered by Sophie would certainly be at its best served medium rare (see our Sophie’s Tips column called “It’s all a question of taste”). But if Sophie prefers her meat well cooked, it is up to us to avoid making any criticism as to her choice.
But our role doesn’t stop there! All the subtlety of the sales process lies in giving advice – in other words the “how”! How can we tactfully convince our Client that his or her steak is best cooked rare? What words should we use to recommend one item of clothing as opposed to another without causing offence? How can we express our reluctance to cut a Client’s hair in a style we know will be unflattering? Also, let us not forget that advising also means not automatically complying with the other person’s wishes. It is about sharing our point of view in the most discreet and considerate manner possible.
This is not a question of challenging our Clients’ taste; it's more to do with making them aware of potential risks of lower quality and dissatisfaction. Once we have done this, it is then up to the Client – and the Client only – to make his/her choice based on all the information in his or her possession.