From the Masters

The following is from The Simple Truths of Service by Ken Blanchard & Barbara Glanz

One way to get customers to brag about you is to begin thinking outside the box. That’s exactly what the owner of this appliance repair company my mother bragged about did. When I called him to find out how he could service people the day they called, he explained his story. It turned out that he had been a fix-it man in Massachusetts. Because of his health, his doctors suggested he move to a warmer climate. When he got to San Diego, he would find out when people were moving into a house they had just bought. He would knock on the door and tell them that he was a fix-it man. If they needed any painting or repairs done, he would be happy to do it at a reasonable price. All he asked was that they agree to refer him to other customers if they liked his work.

This guy always showed up on time, did what he said he would do with high quality, and charged a reasonable price. People loved his work. He built his business up so much that when old customers would call to get him to do something, very often he didn’t have time because he was so busy. A number of people suggested to him that he start his own company. But he was reluctant, because he was concerned about managing employees and having a big payroll.

One day he woke up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea. About thirty percent of the people living in San Diego are retirees. Many retirees are bored. They’d love to have something to do, and if they can help other people, that’s even more special. So he put an ad in the local paper that said: Retirees: If you’re good at fixing things, want to help people, and make some extra money, give me a call.

It turns out he had 25-30 retirees on call every single day. So if a customer like my mother called, he had someone he could send out to her. And he didn’t have the problem of a big payroll. If the people didn’t work, they didn’t get paid. Laughingly, he told me that he had a hard time paying some of the people, because it goofed up their Social Security. They just loved the work.

How’s that for out-of-the-box thinking? Johnny didn’t do too badly on that score, either.

“The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.”

-Linus Pauling-

If you’d like more lessons like this, purchase “The Simple Truths of Service” with Free DVD at the Inspired Faith Gift Store from Beliefnet.

Reprinted by permission of Simple Truths (c) 2011. In order to protect the rights of the copyright holder, no portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent. All rights reserved.

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