Al’s Column: Living by the Golden Rule
By Typhannie Watson – “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”
We’ve heard this phrase, known as “The Golden Rule,” for most of our lives. The Golden Rule is well known in various cultures around the world, both in religious and secular circles, and assumes that everyone would like to be treated the same way you would like to be treated.
That phrase came to mind recently when a client verbally expressed her appreciation for the way we treated her during her experience with us. We attended during her time in the showroom, made an appointment for her estimate at her home, showed up promptly and flipped the estimate 24 hours after we got to her home.
While the kind words she offered were nice to hear, to me this level of service is an essential part of the core values we live every day in our store. There is no wiggle room here. We do this with every customer. In this particular case, the client told me that she had called several other industrial companies for her remodeling project and still couldn’t even get a call back, let alone a written estimate.
As a floor dealer, I know we’re all inundated these days, but I can’t believe I’m not calling back from an existing or prospective customer. I started to think: was I a little too customer-oriented in this case? Then I thought, is she going to call the companies that ignored her or say positive things about them in the future? Probably not. If anything, she will likely pass her negative experience on to others. And none of us would like to be on the receiving end of that.
How many times have you been in a situation where you buy a product, return it or have a service performed, only to be told “no” or “we can’t”. It’s not a good feeling, especially when you know that the customer service representative or cashier didn’t blink to automatically reject you.
Personally, I never liked hearing those words as a kid, especially as an adult — and certainly not as a flooring company owner.
Like many of you in the flooring industry, I do everything I can to avoid the word “no.” When it comes to our customers, we need to see solutions, not problems, and act for them where and when we can. The goodwill that comes from those feel-good situations can do wonders for both your business and your soul.
Treating people with dignity and respect is a lesson my father taught me when I was young. As an adult, the Golden Rule for me was reinforced—perhaps unconsciously—by my friend, Kaye Whitener. Kaye is director of operations at the Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF), part of the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA).
We were chatting at a board meeting in San Diego one day, when Kaye told me a little bit about the importance of treating people the way you want to be treated. When I got back to my hotel room later that evening, I wrote down her words and I’ve tried to live by those words ever since. I’m not sure if Kaye knew she was affecting my life that day. But I really took it to heart as a little reminder to stay on track and keep the Golden Rule as part of my constitution in everything I do.
It’s the best advice I’ve ever received.