Over the weekend I had a night where I had the craziest dreams. One after another. I would wake up to pee, and remember my dream and think how bizarre.
The last dream I had that night was one with my mom and grandma. I was driving my grandma’s tank of a car, a light blue Chevy Caprice Classic if you want the visual in your head (1977 at that). I had to take it to get something fixed and when the guy drove it he moved the seat. The seat in that car in the front was one big seat that moved, so I knew when I got in I would have to fix it back to her liking, but it I was not sure I got it right, so I came and found her when I got back and she was doing the oddest types of cleaning and then she disappeared and I find my mom.
Now for the last few years of my mom’s life (I was 12-16) she was sick, so often the memories I have she is sick. When she appeared in this dream she was sick, but sitting up on her own (which was not possible in reality). She looked different (yet not well) and she told me she had been in the weight room, and something about her stomach. Which reminded me that I was pregnant and the ‘lil man started kicking me and I then said to my mom would you like to feel him kick? She put her hand on my belly, and that is when I woke up.
Obviously a vivid dream for me, and one that hit home, just the mere moment in seconds of feeling like my mom got to experience a moment with me and my son. And, then it was gone. I woke up with tears in my eyes, and of course had to get up and pee. I find it fascinating how these things happen when we least expect them. Maybe it was a sign or message for me. Even as I type this I have tears in my eyes. My mom has been gone for 21 years. Away from me longer than she was with me. What would it be like to share these last 2 months of my pregnancy with her?
It is a topic that comes up often at work, but never mind that right now. I want to talk about service in my backyard. In my living room, on the phone, and wherever I might be. We all want it right? When we go into the store we want the person working in the store to not bug us too much, but be extremely helpful when we are ready for their help. We want to know when we call our bank or credit card company that they will help us with their questions, and make us feel good about the choices we have made to be a patron of their company. They make money off us right? So why should we be made to feel like we owe them?
Here are a couple of recent examples — and by recent, I mean in the last week. There is not enough time in my day to even list out all from the past month. Yes, I am a service addict and I tend to never forget how I was treated by companies. Really, if you think about it, service levels leave a permanent, laser-etched mark in your mind about their brand. You never forget a horrible service experience and you rarely forget an amazing one — if you ever have one.
Anyway, on to the examples:
Redbox: Over the weekend we reserved a movie on the Redbox app. When Chris went to pick it up, the machine did not work, so he went to another kiosk and rented from there – but since we weren’t able to pick up the movie at the kiosk we reserved it at, we needed to let them know so they would not charge us and so they could be alerted to the problem. Now, I do not care about the $1.50 I was charged, but I do care about principle. If everyone that reserved a movie at that machine did not contact them, how much are they making on their customers, and how many customers would they frustrate?
Their response to our email? They’ll give us a “credit” for another movie to use in the next 30 days. Sorry, but I actually paid for two movies, not one. So credit my account for the amount I was charged in error for your faulty machine. I rarely use Redbox and most likely I am not going to remember to use my “credit.” Plus, I might not even have the chance to use it in the next 30 days. Their solution is better for them, but not for the customer.
Contractors: Dating back to last May we have contacted over 30 contractors to do work on our house. Out of the 30+, maybe 5 have actually followed through with the appointment, and 2 of the 5 have given us bids. I know it is a booming housing market and they have all the business they can possibly handle, but do they realize how brand damaging it is? Service = following through with appointments, calling customers back, and providing bids so homeowners can make educated decisions. We cannot do any of that without contractors providing a very easy service. If you are one of the 30 you will never have our business – your brand has already been damaged.
Why oh why is it so hard for companies to see that one of the most important parts of how they communicate with their customers is how they serve them? With there being more and more options available from many different companies, if you can move or change companies or providers and find one that actually understands how to take care of customers, then those are the companies that are going to make it. It is all in the little things and in the details. Follow through, be accountable for problems, and fix them is the brand image customers remember.
I have to admit I am utterly exhausted as this week nears to a close. It is Friday, and I am ready for the weekend. A lot has been accomplished this week, a lot of progress has happened, but I still often feel like I am in a hamster cage saying: “Can I get out for a small break? Please can I stop spinning around this wheel?”
A work colleague shared an interesting idea in a meeting last week. She said: “We need to clean out the sewers and replace the pipes.” Maybe that sounds completely random to you, or maybe it resonates completely. How often do we stop, take an assessment for how things are really going and fix what needs to be fixed? If we were better about maintenance and checking up on our life, we might find that we do not need to clean sewers, and replace pipes because we were fixing and keeping up with life all along. How often does that really happen though? Do we fix the drip, or wait until it is a hole pouring water into our ceiling?
On Monday, I wrote about the mole infestation in our yard. It had been a trickle of random mole holes for months and months. We did nothing about it until this week when it wrecked havoc on our entire yard. I can only imagine the tunnels that have been dug a few feet down all around our yard and even under our house. Maybe sink holes are really the manifestation of a colony of moles over time? In any case, my colleague’s comment continues to make me think about work, home, and life projects that might be better handled by stopping and getting rid of the excess, the stuff that has built up (whether it be problems or a backlog) and focus on building a better infrastructure (replacing the pipes) so that there is a longer life to the foundation of a project or life situation.
I can think of a list of things at work and home where I need to gut and replace. I will leave you with this great quote:
“If you don’t have time to do it right, when are you going to have time to re-do it? -Bill Hosket [Basketball National Champion, World Champion, Gold Medalist]