Doing Good Works

A couple months back I wrote about a little incident where a friend accidentally drove his car through our garage wall into our dining room. It was quite a shock – especially to the two dogs and the cat. At the time, I commented on the slap-dash way in which some contractors had worked up repair estimates. I also praised the folks who got the job for their thoroughness and professionalism in repairing the wall and the electrical wiring. I have come to realize such wide variances in competency and efficiency are more common than I once believed. First case in point: We needed a new railing for our front porch stairs to make it easier for a friend with an artificial leg to navigate his way to and from the house when he was critter sitting for us. We called around and got a couple nibbles of interest and estimate schedules. Meantime, we had ordered a new dishwasher from Lowes, which one of their contractors installed quickly and efficiently. We mentioned the stair railing and he said, “I can do that.†He had an estimate the next day, the materials ordered as soon as we approved the estimate, and the job finished exactly on time – before the other guys even showed up to give us an estimate. Oh, and it looks great. Second case in point: While preparing for a trip to Cygnus headquarters in Wisconsin and on to the Franchise Services convention in Las Vegas, I noticed that our car battery sounded pretty anemic. Since the car would sit for a week at the airport, I figured I better get it checked out. I took it to one of those auto parts places that offer free diagnoses of such things. The guy put a meter on the battery. The meter spit out a slip of paper saying the battery need to be charged before it could be diagnosed. “Maybe it’s bad, maybe the alternator is bad, maybe something is draining the battery, but I can’t tell,†he said before taking the meter back into the store and going about his business. I stewed on this for a while before taking the car to another location of the same chain, where another fellow hooked a similar looking device to the battery. He had me turn on lights and A/C, rev the engine, and do a couple other things. “Definitely a bad battery and your alternator is fine,†he said. “And it looks like this battery was not installed right and probably has been bleeding off electricity since it was put in.†He then removed the old battery and, with much difficulty, repaired the former installer’s screw ups and put in a new battery. The moral is that really good customer experiences stand out because they are rarer than mediocre or even terrible ones. That is something every business person, including printers, should keep in mind when doing business.