I completely agree with this blog post. Being five to ten minutes late for a flight will end up with you missing your flight. A one second mistake in giving the command to launch a space shuttle a few years ago ended up with the flight not being able to be launched. It had to be refueled for a cost of 700,000.00 and launched on another day. Doing what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it is called reliability. Your reputation is earned by being reliable. When you committ to do something, do it right the first time. Do it on time. Don’t make people sit around waiting for you. Get your act together and you will have a much more successful life, because then people will trust you….
This month I had numerous problems with Lowes. I took in a power washer on August 6 to be repaired. I had bought the three year extended warranty. The service person told me it would go out on Friday, August 12 and be back on Friday, August 19 and they would call me. They did not call me on August 19 so I drove out to Lowes on August 21 to pick it up. I was told it was not back yet and I should
call Trisha on Monday the 23rd to get an update. Trisha is in charge of receiving. I called on Monday. Trisha made some calls and told me that the repair company had looked at it and they would call me today (Monday, 23 August). Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday passed without anyone calling me. I called Trisha again but it was not 8 am yet so the repair company was not open. She assured me they would call me today (Wednesday the 24th). I asked her for the name of the General Manager. She told me it was Dan Brown. What she did not tell me was that his office was not in the store but across town in another Lowes. She also told me that,”They” at the service counter should not have told me it would be back on the 29th as it takes longer because the repair company had to get approval from Lowes corporate to repair it and after that they have to get approval from the power washer company to repair it and all of this takes time. She referred to everyone as “Them” even though they were her associates. When you hear someone blaming”Them” and telling you “They ” made a mistake, you are really in trouble.
By noon nobody had called me so I drove to the store again and spoke to the original service person who told me it would be ready on the 19th. Her name was Jasmine. She was very nice but really could not do anything for me. I asked her, “Where is Dan Brown the GM.” She said he was here yesteday but his office is in a Walmart near Disney. I asked what store. She said store #2438 but neither she nor or her associate could tell me the address or really where it was. I asked for Dan Brown’s phone number. It took them a long time to find the number. No one offered to get the store manager for me, if they even have one. I finally got a voice message on Wednesday afternoon from Trisha telling me Karen from the repair comapany was trying to reach me. I called Karen. It turns out Karen had the wrong number because Trisha or someone at Walmart did not give her the right number that was on the document I filled out for the repair. They were calling my office number which I presume they went onto the internet and found. I seldom go to that office and why they did not call the number I gave them remains a mystery. Karen finally told me the power washer would cost too much to fix so Lowes would probably do a buy out by giving me what I paid for the powerwasher or a new power washer. I asked her how that worked. She told me she was sending Lowes an email with my correct phone number and I should hear from someone at Lowes today (Thursday, August 25).
I must admit, I am dubious whether a call will come in today. I literally don’t trust Lowes. Their process is very broken. They basically have not done what they said they were going to do on numerous occassions. From now on I will pay a bit more and go to a small independent store to buy things I used to buy at Lowes. If you are looking for me later today I will be at Lowes looking for my power washer. Make sure you don’t have broken policies and procedures in your organization. These will drive your customers away. I doubt Dan Brown the GM even is aware of this broken repair process and the broken communication systems for his customers, but he will know soon and so will the thousands of people following this blog…….Wish me luck today as I wander though the aisles of Lowes calling out to my power washer to come home …..Lee …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Yesterday my new friend and fascination expert Sally Hogshead called me at precisely 11 a.m. for a
scheduled conversation. I was impressed. More often than not, someone says
they’ll call at 11 and the phone rings 5 or 10 minutes later. I was impressed
by Sally’s professionalism.
“It makes me crazy,” I shared, “when I ask someone to call me back in
literally 2 minutes knowing that I can take the call on a different line or
phone then, and they call back 10 or 15 minutes later and I’m no longer
Sally suggested that the meaning of literally seems to have morphed into
something like “approximately” or “close to”. “We need a new word,” she said.
I suggested “literally squared.” (Yes, that appears to be two words, but
there is no “squared” little 2 symbol on the iMac.)
To some of my more mellow readers, literally squared might seem like a case
of being wound too tightly. While that might sometimes be the case, there is a
serious aspect to this idea. We live in a world where precision often matters.
From medicine to flying an airplane to engineering a structure, you don’t want
to work in loose terms.
In a competitive environment for selling and serving customers, clients and
shareholders, precision also matters. When we invest time and money, we don’t
want vague promises like “I’ll get back to you” (when?), “we are focused on
improving earnings” (what are you doing?) or “this will grow your business”
(how much?). The more precise the promise and the performance, the more
powerful the value proposition.
Whether or not we need a new concept like “literally squared” is debatable.
I’m convinced, however, that we need to employ the power of precision.