Rights and Responsibilities

You know how, when the phone rings at your home late at night, it almost never is because you won the lottery?  It’s almost always a bad thing?  For us, when the business phone rings late in the afternoon, it’s the same way.  It usually means either; A) A client is unhappy, B) A client is re-scheduling at the last-minute or C) An employee is calling in sick for the next day.  On a recent Friday, it was A. 

I’m happy to say that we don’t get a lot of these calls.  Maybe that’s why they unnerve me so.  Seriously, I still break out in a sweat and my hands shake when I get one of these calls.  I guess, given the alternative of having so many of these calls I was accustomed to handling them, I’d rather be unnerved.

On this particular day, the customer had been disappointed with the way that we had mopped the floors.  So much so that she had called her husband and asked him to have us come back out and re-do them.  I suppose at this point I could have participated in the great American pastime of blame-placing.  This family has three dogs which we let into the home at the end of the cleaning as requested by the customer.  I could have blamed it on the dogs, but really, what good does that do?  It doesn’t solve the problem and it rarely makes the customer happy.  I did the one thing I could do as the owner of the company.  I accepted responsibility, I apologized that we had not met the customer’s standards and asked when we could come out and re-do the floors.

My philosophy of customer service has its roots in The Golden Rule.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  What would I want in this situation?  I would want the floors re-mopped, as soon as possible.


We had a family obligation that evening, so I asked if we could come out the next day.  The next day in this case happened to be a Saturday, which is not one of the days of the week that we normally work.  But it was important to me that I impress upon this customer that they are important to us. Important enough to come out on our day off to fix a problem that we created.

In life, as well as in business, we all have to look ourselves in the mirror at the end of the day and be comfortable with the person staring back at us.  We have to be able to sleep.  I happy to report that I slept like a baby that night.


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