The popular television program CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) and many others are based on the work of Dr. Edmond Locard. He became known as the “Sherlock Holmes of France” formulating the basic principle of forensic science: “Every contact leaves a trace”.

Of course, he was talking about perpetrator and victim, but the same concept holds true with our customers. A contact may be made physically in an office or at a site or showroom, verbally on a telephone or a letter or email.

What type of trace will we leave? It is often neutral, on rare occasions excellent and more often than necessary, poor and even damaging.

Those are obvious, but any and every contact leaves a trace. Consider:

  • Did you ever visit an office where a plaque holding a mission statement is askew and has been for the last five visits?
  •  A recording that tells you how important your call is and then puts you on hold or says that “our volumes are higher than usual”.
  •  Why is it that so many firms use the same ‘voice’ for their recordings?
  •   Someone answers ‘good morning’ at two in the afternoon or starts their email with the same greeting.
  • A surly or even too casually dressed receptionist?
  • The fiirst contact with Accounts Receivable for a firm is when they are past due. (It should be a welcome letter or call when they come on board).
  •  A spelling or grammar error in an email. (Did you notice the spelling error in the previous bullet point? It isn’t fair. You don’t get a pat on the back or not having an error but people sure notice when you do.)

Let’s borrow from Ford[1] in that Quality is Job One and everybody is responsible.

Recently we developed the CCSI Program©, (Customer Contact and Service Improvement) with the objective of eliminating damaging traces and increasing those that are good and excellent. If you would like to hear more about it, just send me a note or visit the link:

You don’t need to wait of course, nor even review my program. Get started right now – call up your own firm and ‘listen’ as a customer. Walk into your reception area with the ‘eye’ of a customer. You have the idea – every contact.

The results are improved communications, an increase in the bottom line and a reduction in stress at all levels.

Pithy Quote:

“There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.”
                                              Dale Carnegie

P.S. Even though I am the author of a book on collections (Paid in Full), a good one I have been told, I tell participants at my seminars if you only read one book to help you in Collections it should be Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.


[1] The company of course, not Rob Ford, the mayor of my city of Toronto.