Please, please promise never to do this to our customers!
Whenever I experience a mediocre customer service encounter, I think, “How can I learn from this? How can I make sure it NEVER happens to our customers?”
I’ve lived at the same address for more than 20 years and I’ve had an ongoing subscription to the Gainesville Sun all that time. I’d like to think of myself as a valuable customer, especially in an age of declining loyalty to print media.
No paper this Saturday. No problem, I’m out and about early and pick one up at a newsstand. No paper Sunday. I call in, endure several levels of automated phone directions, eventually get a human being (or at least an airport announcement version thereof) who informs me that the reason I did not get a newspaper is that as of November 30th I had requested weekday-only delivery.
I’ve always thought that change was inevitable in life. Yet a significant part of me is a control freak who is very fond of at least the illusion that I have some input into my fate. I did not like the visual of myself as a leaf blown hither and yon by the uncaring winds of destiny.
How to balance?
I decided to make a practice, a habit, of changing BEFORE a crisis forces me to change. In this way I feel that I can have some impact on the direction and speed of change. Change, then, can occur in a more measured, leisurely fashion, at a pace I am more comfortable with.
I visualize change as two continental tectonic plates coming into oppositional contact. They grind against each other, tremendous forces in play (the past and the future, the old and the new). One plate can slowly slide above the other (change before a crisis forces change) or the plates can remain in direct conflict, tension building to a crescendo of destructive earthquakes (change only when forced to).
My grandfather, Robert Collier, died in 1950, two years before I was born. He was a tremendous businessman, a pioneer in the mail order sales business, and wrote “The Robert Collier Letter Book” on business correspondence.Robert Collier also had a strong spiritual side and in the late 1920s wrote some of the first self-help books, including one called “Secret of the Ages.” The family still keeps the books in print and occasionally our website gets questions that my cousin Collie forwards to the family for a response. Here is one such question and my response: