Excellence in the Small Stuff Matters
Last week, I asked you to send in your candidates for the “good, the bad and the truly ugly” anecdotes of consumer service experiences. I fully expected horror stories, and indeed I got a fair amount of them. Shame on you, Verizon, Citi, Land Rover, and assorted others: You know who you are. But, I was absolutely taken aback by how many really wonderful experiences there were.
Some really charming stories of grace under pressure: My favorite was from my friend John Olsen, whose Christmas gifts and dinner plans were almost derailed by his own mix-ups: Got on the wrong train. Then, got off the wrong train and left his bag of goodies on board. Could have been a true tail of woe, for sure. John, trusting soul that is he, called the Lost & Found department of New Jersey Transit and sure enough: Happy news. Even happier, the conductor who found them realized that the designer chef bred Cornish hens wouldn’t make it through the night in the station locker, so she took them home, put them in the refrigerator and was ready to rendezvous with him the next morning, hens and giftwrapped presents in tow. Thrilling, right?
As I was thinking about this willingness to go the extra mileness, I found myself in a Walgreen’s in Greenwich, hoping to have my passport picture taken during a break in meetings. I was pretty sure this was a remarkably bad idea, but hey! What to do in Greenwich for 15 minutes, right? At a Walgreen’s. Pretty quickly I was positive it was dumb decision: Had to find the camera. Had to lower the screen. Had to haul out the stool for me to sit on. Yes, in the middle of a Walgreen’s. Tick tock, tick tock. Once the picture had been taken, however, I was pretty sure it would go quickly. I was wrong. I simply could not imagine what was taking so long, now. Until I walked over to where the fellow was working. He was air-brushing out stray hairs that he felt were less than flattering (in my passport photo!).
These stories all remind me of the value of professionalism and pride in craft in every line of work and how important it is for our own sanity to treasure them.