Margo Chevers
Northeast Leadership Enterprise
PO Box 281
Wales, MA 01081

Is Your Attitude Worth Catching?

STOP the BS (Bad Service)

The Power of Managing Customer Expectations

Leadership for the New Millenium

Margo Chevers Blog

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Growing as a result of failure

Those of you who know me, know that I am always looking for ways to improve and grow as an individual. This past weekend, I attended a one-hour seminar that was put on by Dennis McCurdy of Sturbridge, MA. It was to give people a taste for his eight-week personal development program. He talked about the usual goal setting, creating a vision, getting rid of our negative self-talk and overcoming our fears. I conduct those seminars myself, yet, I learned more than I expected. Dennis took it one step further than I’d been in the past. He had us attempt to break a one-inch thick board with our bare hands. I wanted to experience as much as possible, so I volunteered to be the first to try. I mentally prepared myself, saw in my mind my hand going through the board, I raised my hand and brought it down hard. The board snapped as though it were a toothpick. I was amazed at how easy it was to do something I thought would be difficult. Then, he took an arrow and told us how we could break it with our necks. He showed how to place the feather end against the wall and put the tip on the soft part of our throat. We were to lean into it until it snapped. He demonstrated and sure enough the arrow snapped. When he asked for volunteers, I was NOT the first to raise my hand. This was raising the stakes. If I broke my hand, that was one thing, but if I pierced my throat with an arrow, that could be fatal. I watched as another participant snapped the arrow in two. I thought, well I might as well try. I got up, set the arrow against the wall, strategically placed the tip against my throat and started to lean into it. I leaned with force and as the other members of the class were telling me it was beginning to bend, I felt a sensation that the arrow was going to crush my larynx. I am a speaker and a trainer. Without my voice, I wouldn’t be able to work. I immediately backed off from the arrow. The class as well as Dennis encouraged me to try again. They assured me that I had almost succeeded. So I tried again. As I leaned into the arrow, again the class gave me the feedback that they could see the arrow bending. I leaned harder and again I felt the sensation of crushing my larynx. I backed off. Although they encouraged me to try again, I couldn’t bring myself to do so. I sat down, convinced I had saved myself from losing my voice. As I processed the experience, I realized that I have experienced this sensation many times. I convince myself that something disastrous will happen if I go ahead and act on an idea I have. I come up with many good reasons why it won’t work. Each one based on what I consider fact. Just like the arrow experience, I feel we many times pull back from success because of the “concrete evidence” we manufacture in our minds. I believe I learned as much from my failure to break the arrow, perhaps even more, than if I had been successful in my attempt. The lesson here is, that we can learn more from our mistakes and failures than we can from our successes. Thank you Dennis for giving me this life lesson.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Customer Expectations

I am constantly amazed at how people who could benefit greatly by giving good service, don't seem to get it. I went to a hair salon last week, hoping against hope that the hairdresser who had cut my hair the previous month was there. My experience with her was outstanding. Well, she wasn't working that day and since it was over an hours drive from home, I took another hairdresser who I was told could do an equally good job. I sat in the chair to have my hair washed. I knew that this was a massage chair from my previous experience. The chair lowered me down to the sink, but it didn't massage me as expected. When she put the conditioner on my hair, I expected a complimentary hand massage because that's what the previous hairdresser had done. Well, this person walked away as though to leave me unattended. She came back a few seconds later and told me that she would massage my hands at no charge. Quite abruptly and without the finesse of the first hairdresser. She then sat me in the chair and proceeded to cut my hair without the care and interest I was expecting. By the time she was done, the tip I was going to give her had been diminished to the bare minimum. Now, if I hadn't had such great service the first time, I might have been more generous. But, the lesson here is, once the customer has experienced a great experience, anything less than that is a dissapointment. My desire to return will only be evident if the first hairdresser is available. Otherwise, I'll take my business elsewhere.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Customer expectations

I just had an experience today with a contractor who had promised to be at my house at 4PM to give me an estimate on a fence for my yard. At 4:05 I figured he was just running late, coming from another job. At 4:15, I wondered why he didn't call me to let me know he was held up. At 4:30, I decided he wasn't going to show up. By 4:45, I dismissed him as a possible prospect for putting up my fence. When he called at 5PM to apologize and tell me that he had forgotten our appointment, I was beyond caring. When you promise to do something for a client (or in this case, a new customer), you should make every effort to live up to your promise. As a matter of fact, you should deliver more than you promise. I contrast this company's lack of attention to the customer to the pest control company I recently called. They told me they would be to my house between 3 & 3:30. They arrived 5 minutes early. I was very impressed - to say the least.