Those of us who enjoy the feeling of being in control are often caught off-guard when mother nature interrupts our plans.
Sometimes it doesn’t even need to be the weather that throws our plans off, it can be the…
- DJ who forgot to show up to your wedding
- Customer who forgot about your important meeting
- Car that decided it doesn’t want to start today
Whatever it is that reminds us we’re never in full control is certainly humbling.
It’s even more humbling if there’s a domino affect that carries throughout the day and you find yourself having to apologize for things you can’t control.
In business this often happens to me due to something related to logistics.
A package is lost, which triggers an order to be late, which triggers an order to be cancelled, which triggers a bonus to be lost, which triggers no special date night this month…it’s a bummer, but it’s also life and important these situations are dealt with reasonably.
A Snowstorm + A Package
Since last Friday I’ve been trying to get a shipment going to Canada to be picked up and on its way via FedEx.
FedEx doesn’t offer same-day pickup so the Friday shipment turns into a Monday pickup.
Customer inquires about why it wasn’t picked up on Friday, I let them know FedEx only does next business day pickup – all is good.
I get a call on Monday at 1:20pm from FedEx stating that due to the snowstorm that there will be no pickup at my location, it’s too dangerous out.
There’s no way I’m going to have another delay so I swiftly get into my vehicle and bring the shipment myself to a FedEx dropoff location.
Tuesday morning the customer inquires about the shipment and why it hasn’t left.
I’m baffled because I have gone the extra mile (without telling my poor-me story) and had a receipt from FedEx confirming my dropoff.
Well, what do you know…I call FedEx and they apologize – they thought it would be picked up when I asked yesterday but the storm got worse and it was not.
I inform the customer of the situation and this time include the weather issues and they are fairly understanding.
A few hours later FedEx arrives for the pickup. I’m confused because I spent 10 minutes on the phone cancelling it with customer service yesterday.
I inform the FedEx driver that FedEx Office has my package and I’m good to go.
I get a call from FedEx Office – they wanted to confirm my shipment was going international and they confirmed once again it was in their possession. I quickly answer their questions and then they end by stating “By the way, no vehicle has been able to get in or out of our facility, so your package probably won’t leave today”
What? Seriously? So I would have been better off *not* going the extra mile and (dramatic) risking my life in the snowstorm yesterday for my customer?
If I would have done absolutely nothing then the FedEx driver who showed up today would have got everything going?
Control is gone, but your Options on how to respond are not
It’s temping to have the lesson learned be to not go the extra mile for your customer.
It’s very easy next time to recall this ridiculous experience next time you’re pondering if you should provide exceptional service.
I decided the challenge for myself is to fight that instinct, always.
When someone or something is trying to convince you not to be exceptional and you give in, you lose every time.
The next time you have the opportunity to be exceptional and you exercise your option to do nothing, understand…
you took a 85% chance of exceptional & turned it into 0% – you did that
Who rationally would do that? The answer unfortunately is a majority of us. We apply one bad situation to all situations and let it not only affect ourselves, but everybody around us.
I also challenge you to be exceptional in whatever you do. Be an outlier, do what others aren’t willing to do, develop your own journey.
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