September 1, 2010

Both Sides of the Counter

We are all in service, sales and marketing.

A few months ago, I had my driveway replaced. It was hot and sticky and the crew spent the first day removing the old asphalt, putting down gravel and flattening things out. It took them six hours.

A couple of weeks later the paving crew was scheduled to come and finish the job. The first date was postponed because the weather office issued a heat advisory.

All hands on deck.

The next day, eleven guys were working on my driveway: two on the paving machine, three with hand packers, three more with rakes, another guy driving a small roller machine, one guy in the truck and a supervisor.

This was not a stoic grumpy bunch, just the opposite. They were talking and laughing and cracking jokes and having a good time. They were laying 300 degree asphalt in stinking hot 90 degree weather. It was certainly good for the old perspective.

Everything you do is marketing.

If anyone saw this crew working and needed a new driveway, they’d be inclined to hire this company. It’s contagious to be around positive people.

I told the supervisor that I appreciated their hard work and that his team seem to be having a lot of fun. He quipped, “It’s better than a real job.”

It's common to hear that from someone in a more non-traditional role but this guy clearly enjoyed what he was doing as did the rest of his team. And this is what they do for six months a year and do it well.

We all providers. We are all customers.

We are often quick to forget that fact when we complain about service or lament about a difficult client. This is not to suggest there are not bad customers or bad service. In fact, most of us want great customer service but rarely do we expect it and when it happens we're still surprised.

If I’m flipping the burgers and you’re paying for lunch then we have our roles. But if later in the day, you are changing my oil and I’m paying the bill we simply switch places.

It is easy to lob complaints when we are on the customer side. But we often would like to think our customers will understand we are trying our best. Eventually we will be serving each other so perhaps it is something we should keep in mind.

What are your thoughts?

knealemann
Create experiences not campaigns.

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