Customer Service Keynote Speaker Gets What Kind of Service? (Guess)


A customer service story:  (See if you can guess the ending.)

This past weekend, Dallas had tornados.  Big storms.  Strong winds.  Pounding rains. Great for sleeping.  Horrid for flying.  Also bad, it turns out, if you’re a tree.  My tree.

Turns out, that once mighty oak had been standing for nine months in water and suffered root rot.  The high winds grabbed that enormous tree over and BAM! down it went.

The reason the tree had been standing in water and rotted (according to the city inspector who came by today), was because my lawn sprinkler guy had set the sprinkler system to come on for twice as long as needed.  That extra water not only sent my water bill skyrocketing, but unbeknownst to me, it also left that tree sitting in the lowest point of the yard in standing water that never got a chance to drain.

So, not only did the sprinkler guy’s mistake cost me a gorgeous tree, it could have cost a home repair (had the tree fallen a few feet father) and WILL cost several hundred dollars for the price of having a crew carve it up and haul it away.  Fortunately, no one was injured and the only casualty was my pocketbook.  (In addition to the tree cost, my water bill unnecessarily shot up from $150 to $450 a month.  That could have been “shoe money!”)

I called the sprinkler repair guy to tell him what happened.  Two notes:  He disagrees with the city’s assessment that I overwatered.  Also, he’s also sick today.  Given those two factors, how likely do you think it was that he’d be open to pay for either part of that sky high water bill OR the cost to remove the tree?  (That’s where you guess what happened.)

I’d like to think it’s because I’m a great customer service speaker that things turned out like they did.  The truth is, I just got great service.  Here’s what happened:

  1. I didn’t ask him to pay for the tree removal.  A friend volunteered to cut up the tree if I’d rent a chain saw.  So I asked the sprinkler guy if he owned a chain saw (he did) and if I might please borrow it.  He agreed.  Not only that, but he also volunteered to let me borrow his extension cord and he also said he’d replace the cord (blade?) so the saw would be sharp.
  2. Then he volunteered to give me a free, sprinkler inspection in the Spring. (I didn’t jump at that because I wasn’t certain he knew what he was doing when it came to watering my lawn.)  Still, it’s a pricy inspection and it was nice.
  3. We hung up friends. I’d saved the cost of renting a chain saw ($63-$126), got an extension cord and won’t have to buy the new blade.  I’ll still be stuck with the high water bill and will have to spend the weekend cutting and hauling with my kind, wood-cutting friend.
  4. But here’s the surprise. A few minutes later, the phone rang.  It was the sprinkler guy.  He said, “Vicki, I told you, I’m sick.  I should have offered to help pay for your water bill.  Please forgive me.  I’ll still give you the chain saw.  And give you a free sprinkler inspection in the Spring.  But I’m also putting a check in the mail for $150 to help pay for your high water bill.  It’ll go out today.”

I’m out the tree.  Still have a mess in the backyard.  BUT, I’m happy with my sprinkler guy.  He did his best to make me happy under the circumstances.  And he did.  If, as a customer service speaker, I could inspire that kind of kindness in every service provider, we’d all feel a lot happier.

P.S.  You can’t have my friend.  He’s a keeper.  J

By the way, if you need a customer service speaker, do call.  I look forward to helping you get great results no matter what challenges your organization’s facing!