Remember the movie “Ghostbusters?” What about the theme song, written by Ray Parker, Jr.? Well believe it or not, the movie is 30 years old – I’ve had the song stuck in my head for a few days thanks to an unfortunate accident.
I was towing a smoker to a group camp out. Approximately 15 minutes from my destination, I glanced in my rear-view mirror and saw black smoke pouring from the back of the trailer. It seems one of the axles had cracked, causing the tire to cant inward and rub against the inner fender well. The smoking was the result of the tire melting from the friction.
I quickly pulled over and, after letting the wheel cool down, jacked up the rear of the trailer to get a better look at the axle. However, as soon as the weight shifted, the axle snapped in two. I guess I was lucky. Had the axle broken at 70 miles per hour, my weekend could have taken a particularly nasty turn.
But there I was, stranded on the side of the road. The trailer was too heavy to pull on only one axle and, try as I might, I couldn’t bind the broken one to the frame well enough to keep the tires straight so I could limp into town. I sat inside the truck to cool off and think. This problem was bigger than I could solve on my own. So I asked myself “Who ya gonna call?”
A lot of our customers ask themselves the same question. Every day, people in our communities find themselves in a variety of situations with no easy way out. They need a friend. They need an advocate. They need an expert (or at least another brain to help them determine the next course of action). In short, they need someone who will answer when they call. That’s where you come in.
You know, it’s easy to become jaded about the work you do day-in and day-out. It’s easy to get cynical and bored and apathetic. After all, answering the same old questions and dealing with the same old issues becomes a chore after a while. So it’s no wonder we grow weary of the daily grind. It’s no wonder we sigh and roll our eyes when yet another customer calls with the same question we’ve answered 100 times already today. That’s what happens when the job becomes routine.
But it’s not routine to the customer.
The same situation that’s a no-brainer to you is a gut-wrenching crisis for your customer. The decision that needs to be made is an easy one for you, but it’s monumental for them. And even though you’ve answered the same question 100 times today, it’s the first time your customer has had to ask. In order to provide the best possible service to your customer, you have to take off your shoes and put on theirs. Because its only after you understand what your customer is feeling that you can truly begin to serve them.
I got lucky. The first friend I called immediately dropped what he was doing and came to help. And he didn’t show up alone. Three other guys came with him. Each one of them knows what it’s like to be stranded, praying someone will come and help you out of the jamb. Together we were able to develop a plan to fix the smoker and salvage the weekend. The next time I’m in trouble on the road, I know who I’m going to call.
What about your customer? Who are they going to call when the next crisis hits?