Every once in a while I come across something really good that leads me to wonder and hope that my clients have a similar experience of my service. If you were in Britain for the August bank holiday weekend, you will be aware that it was a fairly miserable reminder that summer came and went in April and that we are now firmly in Autumn. I spent the weekend with my family in Cheltenham, taking the opportunity to visit my brother who lives nearby as well as our annual trip to Greenbelt, held at the racecourse.
I know myself fairly well and am not good to be around if I sleep badly. Whilst I quite enjoy “proper” camping (by which I mean strapping stuff to your back and hiking – or finding a properly set up camp site) the option of camping on a racecourse is not something that leads to good results for those with me. So for the last few years we have stayed at hotels in Cheltenham.
This year we tried a new hotel, in truth this was partly due to the previous hotel being fully booked (four months in advance). Anyway, we stayed at a delightful boutique hotel – The Bradley. An otherwise large home turned small hotel. There are some people who are simply gifted in “hospitality”. It’s not simply being organised, but a genuine warmth that puts guests at ease. This was displayed in buckets by the hosts and owners of this charming boutique hotel. Fantastic breakfasts, lovely little touches and a high quality experience. We had a fabulous stay. The Bradley is not a state of the art, top of the range 5 star hotel with all the features of a plush west-end pile – but manages to achieve what so many supposedly “great hotels” invariably sadly fail to deliver. The Bradley provided a comfortable, thoughtful, friendly, professional, personal and stylish service that felt more like a good family welcome than a good attempt to conceal that you are just another punter. This is a great small business that knows what it does well and plays to its strengths. Chris and Sue provide a great welcome and run a great business.
As a firm of financial planners, I take a similar approach, but marketing material, however clever fails to really communicate what it is that we attempt to do. It may sound twee, but I do actually care about our clients and want to ensure that they benefit from great financial planning. To be a small business that knows its strengths and provides an excellent service. It is always helpful to be reminded of the difference between good and great service and that size does not matter when this is achieved. Regrettably in many aspects of a normal working day my team and I have to deal with the failings and general folly of many very large financial organisations that seem to have a great reputation, but we’re all left unclear about how they earned them. Having a good financial planner on your side is helpful, having a great one – is an enormous advantage that dare I say even makes the experience of financial planning rather enjoyable! This is what I hope, plan and work to achieve for our clients.