Today I awoke a little earlier than usual and I just didn’t want to go back to sleep. It was one of those days where my head was spinning about all the stuff I wanted to work on. I don’t mind though and I feel like I am ready to get moving a little early and hopefully accomplish a lot today.
I pushed the pile pretty good yesterday. I just about finished up a special request from someone that I wanted to get done. I also did some errands and got some business stuff out of the way. It is amazing how doing the little things like that can eat up the minutes in a day. But it always feels good when those small tasks are done and behind you.
I wanted to mention something that happened the other day that got my attention. It has to do with business more than woodworking, but I suppose that is OK. In any case, I found it interesting and thought I would share it.
The other day when I picked up my mail, I noticed that I received a card from my bank here in Canada. It wasn’t the usual business sized envelope, and struck me as odd. Upon opening it, I saw that it was a hand written note from one of the regular tellers at the branch where I do business. In the note, she thanked me for waiting in line on one of my recent visits and said she appreciated my patience.
I was quite impressed.
I actually had to think back to what she was talking about and I did remember the previous week when there was a customer in front of me that had some issues and I had to wait maybe 3-5 minutes in line. I never really thought much about it at the time, as growing up in the busy Chicago area things like waiting in line at the bank, post office and grocery store is pretty much a part of life. I remember times when I needed to wait up to half an hour to mail off orders, with the line snaking around several times like it does at an amusement park. It just seemed to be part of life.
I don’t know if it is part of living in a small town or part of the bank trying to improve customer service or what the reason was for the note. Here in Canada, there are only four major banks that I can think of – unlike the United States where there are countless institutions to choose from. The pickin’s here are slim and I was quite surprised that one company (after all – a bank is a company when it comes down to it) would go to such measures in the name of good customer service. I am absolutely certain that it isn’t because of the amount of money I have sitting with them. :)
I have been with this bank for almost eight years now – since I came to Canada. When I lived in Digby, I knew all the tellers there and they were all friendly and helpful. I rather thought that it was because I kind of stood out because of my US citizenship and how I frequently had to deal with issues of conversions and things along that line. Since most of my transactions were not really ‘routine’, I got to know them pretty well.
When I moved here to Clare almost three years ago, it felt odd going into the bank and not knowing the staff in this way. I had become rather used to being recognized as part of the community and it kind of showed me how much I had come to like it. But soon the relationships were once again forged and even though I had far less issues than I had in the beginning, I find myself again in a friendly and helpful atmosphere. It is kind of nice.
There have even been times in the past year or so when the tellers make suggestions on the type of accounts I have (based on seeing how I use them) and have changed parts of it so that it costs me less to operate. You would think that this would lose money for them, but in the long run, it builds a lasting relationship with their customers that will come back in other ways. I like that.
In my own business, I try to do the same thing. Sometimes people forget to put a free pattern on their order that they may have qualified for, or there would be a more economical way to purchase multiple patterns from me and if they miss it and I have already received their order and notice it, I make it a point to let them know so that they can take advantage of the discounts. I just think it is good business. After all, the rewards are there in the first place as a way to show my regular customers my appreciation. It always makes me feel good to offer loyal customers a little extra.
In these difficult times, when everyone is struggling, it is good to know that customer service still exists in some companies. While a small thing like a note card may not seem a lot to many, the mere fact that they acknowledged my time and respected that meant a great deal to me. I realize that there are cynics who may brush this off as nothing, but for myself, I feel that it was a good gesture and it goes far to strengthen my loyalty as a customer to them. Sometimes the little things mean a lot.
I have always felt that showing appreciation and saying ‘thank you’ is an important part of life. No matter how small an act of kindness or good service is, acknowledging it goes a long way. It costs nothing to thank someone. And it not only shows people that what they do is noticed, but also that they are appreciated too. Everybody wins.
I think I am going to focus on my ‘extra project’ today I think. It will be a nice change of pace and I am itching to get out the paints anyway.
Have a great day!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"