My wife and I both had a rather long day today. I took care of our three kids and ran various errands with them, and visited a friend of mine who is in the hospital with a second bout of cancer (this will probably be a separate post of mine soon). At any rate, we wrapped up the day assisting my mother-in-law in the emergency room of the North Austin Medical Center. It is a very involved story, but suffice it to say that she was admitted in order to get a blood transfusion and she will be leaving in the morning.
I went to the ER to pick up our kids because my wife had them with her this evening so that I could do some work. She asked to take them to the large lobby area to “decompress”, and perhaps to get some snacks from the vending machines there. I rarely carry much cash, and tonight was no exception. I had exactly one dollar, along with my debit and credit cards. My wife told me that they had a cash machine, which they did. I swiped my card and asked for $20, hoping against hope that the machine (which appears to be only for the snack machines, honestly) would give me some fives rather than just a $20 bill. You already know what happened – I soon had a crisp $20 bill and no way to spend it on snacks for my hungry kiddos.
I went to the desk and there was an ER orderly/nurse/greeter sitting there. He looked friendly enough, and I asked him if they had change for the snack machines. He said no, that they didn’t have change. I told him that it seemed a bit pointless to have a cash machine that only dispensed bills that were too large for the machines, then I turned and told my kids that we couldn’t get snacks there because we didn’t have the right kind of money. We started to walk away (well, my 18-month old was in the stroller happily babbling away). Suddenly, I heard, “SIR! Would you be willing to take twenty ones? I have that and I can go get it for you.” It was the guy at the desk taking pity on me and my mini-entourage. He disappeared for a minute or two, then returned with a wad of singles in his hand for me. The exchange was made, and I had three happy kids (and one happy dad, too).
On the way home from the hospital, I stopped to get gas because my “low on gas” indicator light had come on during my trip TO the hospital earlier. I was pumping the gas and it was about halfway finished when I heard a small beeping sound and the gas stopped coming. The LED screen said, “All pumps are now stopped.” I couldn’t really comprehend what had just happened. Did I press something inadvertently? Did someone else press an emergency stop button? What was going on? I waited for about 30 seconds for it to resume, then I looked around the pump to see an older man locking the front door of the convenience store and taping a small sign on the door. WHAT?!
I looked at my watch, and it was exactly 11:30pm. I didn’t bother to go up and knock and get into an argument – what good would it do anyway? Ostensibly, it appeared that they close at 11:30 and not ONE MINUTE LATER, even if you are in the middle of a transaction. This is probably some of the very worst customer service that I have witnessed, and it kind of taints the idea of using that particular station again. Who closes on the half hour anyway?
So, what is your point, Crouch? You had a bad day? Well, not particularly. The issue here is how these people handled service. The ER nurse could have just done nothing to help, but he went out of his way to help me get what I needed right then. The gas station manager/employee created an obstacle for me that was unnecessary. I would have been finished in roughly two minutes, and I wouldn’t be blogging right now about his horrendous “service”.
Here’s the crux of this post – which one of these men do you identify with more strongly? Are you the type of person who anticipates the needs of your clients and friends and takes an extra step to help make things easier and smoother for them? Do you ever sacrifice of yourself for others?
Are you the type of person who leaves clients confused and then hides at the first hint of a problem? Do you create new obstacles with your communication methods?
As for me, I choose to take the “road less traveled”, seemingly. I want to be the guy that goes above and beyond to help others, not the guy who surreptitiously locks the door and puts up a sign.
Stand out in the crowd – do the right thing! Always remember – real estate is a SERVICE business.