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Business Information by Gladys Edmunds

Business Information by Gladys Edmunds
At age 15 Gladys developed a travel service that would prosper for more than 30 years. She is a national award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, author and columnist. Visit her at

Make Life Easier for Your Customers; Do Your Best

Make Life Easier for Your Customers; Do Your Best

Over the past few months I have watched a couple of incidents that has inspired this column.

First, Marsha, my friend and I had lunch at a local restaurant. She ordered grilled fish and I had a chef’s salad with shrimp. After two bites of her fish, Marsha commented that it had a strange taste. She thought that it may have been the sauce, so she scraped it off and had another bite. But the weird taste was still there. So, she didn’t eat any more. Apart from this, the lunch went well, and we had a good time.

That evening Marsha’s husband called me from the hospital’s emergency room to inquire about the food served at our lunch and to tell me that she was seriously ill with food poisoning.

Marsha’s husband called the restaurant and learned that several other luncheon guests had also taken ill from the fish. We learned that the assistant cook had taken the fish out of the freezer and laid it on the counter at 5 o’clock that morning to thaw instead of letting it thaw in the refrigerator. He said that he had planned to put the fish in the refrigerator but had gotten busy with other things and forgot about it. The chef said that he had no idea that the fish had been on the counter in the hot kitchen all morning.

The second incident happened to me. My assistant went to the bank on a Thursday and made a deposit. The cashier took the money and the deposit slip and handed back a receipt. Several hours after she returned from running various office errands she placed the receipt on my desk, which I didn’t see until the next day.

When I looked at the receipt it was $50 short of the amount deposited. That next day we had errands to run together in the same neighborhood as the bank, we stopped to get things straightened out. My assistant pointed out the young man who had waited on her the day before. We went to his counter and I explained the situation. Without looking at me he said that he didn’t recall waiting on my assistant and that I would have to speak to his manager. His manager came out and explained to me that I would need to contact the main office for a resolution because they balanced their deposits and withdrawals the night before without seeing a shortage or over amount. She gave me a number to call.

Later that afternoon my call to the main office took almost 20 minutes, which included a number of prompts and then a lengthy holding time.

When I finally got someone on the line she asked for all of the numbers on the receipt and placed me on hold again. After about 10 minutes she returned to the phone and told me that she would have to contact the branch where the deposit was made and promised to get back to me the next business day. Which meant Monday. On the fourth business day (Thursday) she called back and asked if I had a copy of the deposit slip. Well, thank goodness, my assistance made a copy of all the checks and listed the checks and the numbers on our deposit slip. I faxed all of the information to her. It took another three days to credit my account for the $50.

Both of these situations are strongly related to lack of quality in workmanship. I speak and write often about the importance of training employees in good customer service. However, some things don’t call for training. Taking pride in your work cannot be taught. It is something that comes from within you. It speaks to your confidence in yourself.

Botched work, carelessness, and indifferent workers are behind the worst crimes not punishable by law. One small flaw in workmanship can cost time, money and can even cause sickness and or tragic losses.

If we are to live in balance everyone has to participate in the process. Everyone has to become thorough and complete in his or her work right down to the very last detail. It is this kind of awareness in working that gives a higher quality of life to both the customer and to the person providing the service.

The quality that we put into our work, or don’t put into our work, affects our entire lives as well as the lives of others. When we do a job well there is a sense of pride that goes along with it. And self-pride makes you feel good and brings about self-confidence. Take time and do each thing completely correct. Demand the best of yourself.

Fortunately, Marsha survived the food poisoning after an overnight stay in the hospital and several days lost at her business. And as for me, I’m still waiting for the bank to apologize for any trouble they may have caused me.

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