The caped crusaders scamper into the sunset, having vanquished yet another snivelling baddie by means of camp costumes, knockout faux punches, clean-cut good looks and common or garden niceness.
Back in the olden days the masked men who wore their knickers over their tights (which no self-respecting woman would entertain) kept Gotham city safe from disaster and chaos with a mix of charm and cracking right hooks. But recent screen versions of the comic book phenomenon are dark, sinister and scary. You don’t see him in sweater and slacks when he’s off duty.
Here are my top five tips for Batman and Robin-style customer relations:
1. Cultivating sartorial elegance
While it really doesn’t help to don tights, cape and silky pants for your first meeting with a new client, it is a good idea to take a measure of sartorial elegance on board.
Even if you’re meeting with a member of Brighton’s funky new media scene, looking reasonably well put together gives a better first impression than turning up in a Never Mind The Bollocks t-shirt with the crotch of your jeans dangling between your knees.
Smart-smart can be a bit much but smart-casual trumps casual-casual if you want to generate trust.
2. Maintaining a healthy balance of power
There’s nothing better than working with a client. Working for someone who always wears the trousers, whether over or under their shreddies, means your relationship is always unequal.
Batman and Robin meet people half way. The major of Gotham might call the shots at the end of the day but the caped crusaders take things into their own hands rather than let things go pear-shaped.
If your client wants to do something you know is silly, say so. When you’re working as partners in crime it’s much easier to stand your ground and deliver great value.
3. Doing no evil
Batman and Robin are by no means hippies. But they’re tough, uncompromising and sit firmly on the righteous side of the moral fence.
Treat your clients the way you’d like to be treated yourself – with respect, honesty and general niceness – and your relationship will flourish. If you’re a nasty fibber with a conscience as flawed as the Joker, your business relationships will fall apart in no time.
You don’t need your customers to love you so much they want to sit on your face. But a decent level of entente cordiale is cool.
4. Sticking closely with your allies
Make like Batman and get loads of goodies on your side. When you make friends with a bunch of top class people to refer your clients to, you’re stickier. Which sounds ghastly but means clients stay with you longer, trust you more and are more likely to spread the word about how brilliant you are.
Without Robin, the original Batman wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good at his job. Get networking and create a well-rounded proposition that benefits everyone: you, your clients and the small businesses in your network.
5. Knocking baddies into the stratosphere
Blam! If someone takes the mickey one time too often, habitually makes mountains out of molehills, never pays on time or constantly makes a meal of the simplest project, they might be more trouble than they’re worth.
Obviously you can’t biff them on the chin, blow them to smithereens or shoot them into outer space. But you can have a grown-up conversation about how things might work better, create procedures to make your life easier or, worst case scenario, politely tell them to go fly a kite.
Once it’s sorted you’ll have the time and energy to grow your customer base and give everyone top quality service.