Recently, we had more snow in Dayton, Ohio, than we’ve had in years. We do get snow every year, but we don’t get a lot of it, so when it snows, it does cause a lot of people to do strange things. Basically, I see a lot of overreaction and people who just seem to think the world is going to stop turning. There are rushes on toilet paper, milk, bread, and the like. Stores close so their employees can go home and it probably makes business sense because people aren’t out shopping. But this week I want to talk about two companies that did some nice things that made them stand out. These were small gestures but they are some examples we entrepreneurs can learn from.
First, Time Warner of Dayton. They are the largest cable TV, high speed Internet, and phone provider in our region. I have a TV that uses one of their universal remotes and it wasn’t working. On my way home from work on a very snowy day when everything was closed, their store at the mall by my office was still open. In fact, they looked to be about the only store open. I parked my truck in the snow-covered lot and waddled through the 9″ of snow on the ground. As I got to the door, one of the employees saw I was carrying a remote and took off running to the back of the store. I came in through the first door, pounded the snow off my feet and walked through the second door to the counter. Before I could say a word, a man was running from the back saying, “I got it, I got it.” The lady at the counter said, “He has your new remote coming.” The man came right to me and handed me the remote with a smile. I said, “Don’t you need to know my name?” He said, “Nope, we knew you’re a client; those are our remotes; sorry it didn’t work; have a good evening.” Amazing, if you ask me.
How many times has the issue been obvious to the employee of the business you were doing business with, only to hear them say, “Can I help you?” or never demonstrate one ounce of anticipation? It happens all the time so if your company does it like these Time Warner employees did, you tend to remember it. Kudos to Time Warner and thanks for the good story.
I then drove home and when I walked in the door, my home phone was ringing. It was Waste Management with an automated call to tell me, “Due to the bad weather and our desire to have our drivers be safe, we will not be able to pick up the trash but will get it the next day.” I was impressed and saw another lesson, this one being proactive communication is a great way to show a client you care.
As you go about your business in the coming weeks, find ways to anticipate your client’s needs and then do that and find ways to communicate better with your clients. These are two little things that make a big difference and if huge companies like Time Warner Cable and Waste Management can do it, then why can’t we small business owners do it? After all, we don’t need to form a committee to do these things; we just decide to do it and then do it.