Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 3 seconds
I have come across several very interesting situations lately that are worthy of sharing. Sure I suppose I could be perceived as a crotchety old bastard, but hear me out. I believe I am making my world a tighter knit, optimistic problem solving community. As time goes by my expectations AKA “The bar” for great service continues to be raised.
As an entrepreneur and self-professed expert in problem solving, I come across some pretty enormous problems to solve. I am not one to shy away from problems and have solved some doozies in my day. My body of life work has taken me to the scene of many situations. Many of them left a life or more hanging in the balance. On occasion even mine.
Solving problems and great customer service is an attitude, you have to be intolerant of failure, and you have to be confident that the answer is out there. You are not alone, you have to be able to paint a picture with your words. I have always felt a phone or radio was the most powerful tool in my arsenal. Although the internet and you tube are coming on strong, nothing beats the verbal word from an expert to getting things done when moments matter.
Naturally, I go to my trusted professionals in their respective fields to get answers to solve my problems in a collaborative way. I solve problems all day, every day. Occasionally our interests do not seem aligned, that is when “I lose it” for the lack of a better phrase and need to take my business elsewhere.
Simple insurance agent question (Case study #1)
In this case, I had a few minutes to work on a project that brings me great pleasure. I wanted to see if I could get my clients with a preventative maintenance program for their homes, discounts on their home owners insurance.
My agent was not in, (weird) the gal at the desk pushed to answer my questions rather than have me leave a message. Before I could get it all out, she exclaimed “We don’t do that” to which I followed with, “As far as you know”. She restated her position, and I mine… on the third go round I slammed the phone down preventing the conversation from getting out of hand.
Same call, different company, 5 minutes later
The secretary answered my call and the agent again was not available to take my question. She asked me inquisitively what was going on. She sounded genuinely interested, so I told her the same story. She then said “Wow that seems like a reasonable thing, it does not sound like a familiar deduction to me, let me take a message for my boss, he will get back with you in the morning. Will that work for you, or should we try his cell phone?” “It can wait” I said. The following morning I got the call and we had a nice chat. This is the team I want to work with I thought.
The fall out
My (soon to be old agent) called about 30 hours later to follow up giggling, “I heard that you called with some questions?” I did not see any humor in how I was treated, I told him. “I contacted a different agent and got the answers I needed already, thanks” as I hung up.
When I formally fired his agency the following day, he called back within 10 minutes wanting to retain my business. Upon hanging up, confident in my decision, I realized that I had almost fired him several times before. What a relief!
Engineering (Case study #2)
I needed to alter the framing to fit in a taller door. My Project Manager came up with a clever solution to allow for the change, so I ran it by my SIP (Structurally Insulated Panels) representative who turned me over to the drafting department.
The young woman called back and we had a colorful conversation about the idea to which she and I completely disagreed. I could not get it through her mind that we are problem solvers and occasionally need to think outside the box to solve them with clever solutions.
She insisted that you could not modify the assembly under any circumstances. Frustrated and discouraged, I gave up.
Elated with an email
The following morning I got an email from her with the engineer’s drawings approving the idea I had presented. The exact one she refused to consider.
Do I know more than her about her product? NO. Wouldn’t it have been so much easier for her to say “Wow Joe, that is an interesting problem, I have never heard of that approach being used, let me check with my engineer and see if we can help solve it together” In the end, we didn’t even use the alteration but we solved it by golly! I told her how proud I was of her to take it up the ladder and get the alteration approved.
As the year rolls over
I urge everyone to reevaluate your relationships with those you do business. What I realized, is that I am not a normal businessman. I am a mover and a shaker, I can only move forward with like-minded companies that employ folks that are open minded, committed, creative thinking, problem solvers too.
Vote with your feet people! Make the world a better place one step at a time.
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If you or someone you know is considering remodeling or just wants to speak to a trustworthy remodeling contractor please contact me, you’ll be glad you did.