The valet to end all valets has become the epitome of perfect service – and most businesses could learn a lot from P G Wodehouse’s gentleman’s gentleman.

Anticipate: Jeeves always knew what Bertie Wooster was thinking, before Bertie knew it himself. Okay, that wasn’t difficult, Bertie’s thought processes were pretty slow, but businesses that think ahead and plan to overcome difficulties their customers may experience will get to smooth the path to customer loyalty. An example of not Jeevesing the path is the current rumour that Orange and T-Mobile, as Everything Everywhere, will get the 4G deal from Ofcom. Great news for the brands – but a customer backlash about their coverage failures is already raging on twitter and threatens to overrun their success with a very public lambasting of their current performance.
Universalise: Jeeves succeeded because other servants revered him and came to him with their problems. Every business has a b2b profile, and using that profile to ensure that company values run through business linkages can be one of the fastest ways to build your brand’s reputation. Pay on time, explain in advance when you can’t. Become a go-to company for solutions and referrals. Feed your network with your good news, offering ways that others could benefit. Employees are customers too – so recognise their achievements by all means, but be sensitive to their challenges too – helping a staff member through a tough time may do more for them, for you, and for the business as a whole, than any number of great achievements by untroubled employees. We all remember the quiet encouragement and practical support we received as individuals as much if not more than the rah-rah of celebrating success.
Listen carefully
: Jeeves had a superb ability to put together disparate pieces of information in his magnificent brain – a business that listens doesn’t just make sales, it spots opportunities and exploits networks and linkages to create new markets. Little things really matter, as Jeeves always knew, and his ability to offer the perfect morning after pick me up was as important as his knowledge of philosophy. Listening helps an SME to develop the necessary skills to cope with the future.