Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fire Damage To Your Customer Service

Ladies… prepare to get jealous. I’m married – to a fire fighter. And yes, he looks spunky in his uniform and yes, this morning he came home with video footage of a huge fire he was in last night and yes, sometimes I imagine him as Mr. August in a fire fighter’s calendar (too much information?).

So I’m married to a fire fighter who is this amazing creature. He’s very different to me and yet very similar all at the same time. We’re similar in our values and beliefs and we’re different in… nearly ever other way!

One striking difference is that he’s more of the strong silent type whereas I’ll often talk to the wall if that’s my only option. After having been married now for almost two years, I’m starting to learn that when someone who doesn’t speak much chooses to break their silence – I should choose to listen, it’s usually important stuff.

One morning over breakfast my fire fighter looked me lovingly in the eyes and said “Kirsty…” I looked into his eyes and with anticipation said “yes honey”. The romance in the air was palpable… until he said “Do you know where most people die in a house fire?”

The Mills and Boon moment was broken, but I was still interested in the question. I mean, surely most people know in a fire to get low and get out of the house! My fire fighter told me that yes, most people do know to get low. They do so and then crawl to their front door – and then when they reach their front door they… stand up to open the door. And that’s sadly where many people die, right at their own front door because when they stand up, they’re in the smoke and that’s when they’re in trouble.

Now this isn’t just meant to be a fire safety lesson (although I’d love it if you could remember not to stand up in a fire!) It struck me when my fire fighter was recounting this gory fact that many businesses conduct our customer service in this same manner. We do the right thing up until the end and then BAM – we stand up (or stop doing the right thing) right when it’s vital for us to persist.

A few days ago a good friend of mine told me of a real estate agent who did a remarkable job finding them a great property to buy. He serviced them exceptionally well the entire way through… until the contract was signed. Then she never heard from the agent again.

The agent, thinking his big pay day was secured, thought the relationship was over and didn’t even contact my friend on the day her property settled.

What this agent needed to know was that with some ongoing service, his pay day may never have been over! I hope the agent wouldn’t be surprised to know that his name wasn’t mentioned when my friend was asked to refer a real estate professional earlier this week.

In stopping the service early this real estate agent’s head hit the smoke right at their front door. Will you escape the fire by doing the right thing the entire way through or will your customer service be fire damaged?

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment


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