Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It’s a "Human" Thing: What We Give We Will Get Back In Business

It was a busy Friday. There was nothing “chillax” about the end of the week. 

My to-do list had been surmounting: the resulting of splitting energy and focus between a personal family matter and my professional commitments. The week had been a roller coaster. There were moments of complete satisfaction met with moments of stress—pleading with people on the phone, pondering futuristic thoughts and trying to dodge my involvement in a matter that had nothing and yet everything to do with me. My anxiety level was through the roof.

And then, I discovered it. (I often joke that I am a marketing MacGayver but apparently I am any-life-situation-you-can-throw-at-me-MacGyver). There was a transaction that had gone wrong. I had the best of intentions but I made a slight boo boo and I had to fix it. Only rather than being able to fix it right away (within a day), it would take me 5 days of stressing and worry.

My old boss used to drill in my head, "numbers don’t lie." 
No they don’t, especially if you have the wrong number’s for a direct deposit. To fix things, I start calling, tracking down the money, trying to redirect it. I'm told to "send a fax" and quip to myself, "who the hell sends a fax anymore?" 

Every single day last week, I was calling, calling, calling someone, somewhere. There were operator number’s, delays, compliance. All this "human to human", phone contact can be overwhelming for an online entrepreneur. I was waiting on someone in all day meeting. Of course I laugh some more. "Who attends ALL DAY meetings anymore? Shouldn't this woman be on her computer screen?"

Flash forward to snail mail saving the day. I have a check overnighted to me. It comes, and my faith in humanity is restored thanks to USPS. But my excitement is short lived. The check is rendered to the wrong party. I'm told not to worry, that my big bank will save me.

Only I show up after calling customer service (which says I will have no problem), and the first person I encounter at the branch says they can’t help me. And I panic. And I plead. And then I meet Sue.* 

I explain, I emphasize, I stress to her that this is my fault which is why it has to be fixed. I don’t screw up ANYTHING for my clients, I refuse to screw up for my family. 

Apparently Sue* is a higher level manager than the first woman I encountered. Sue* doesn’t have all the answers yet but she doesn’t turn me away either. We sit down at her desk. I am in a busy branch of the bank off Sunset Blvd. And all of the sudden, it just comes over me. I start to cry. No sobs, no weeping. Just endless tears rolling down my face followed by my body shaking. A part of me is in shock that I started letting it out in a freaking Bank of America of all places. This was the very place people picketed, it's not a therapist's office--IT'S A BANK! 

Sue* doesn’t look at me like I have three heads, she doesn’t say, “Get a grip. This is Bank of America and we don't care about YOUR problem. In case you haven't read the news, we have a ton of customers with challenges.” 

Instead, with the most respect and dignity, she hands me a tissue and says she will be right back. She retrives a bottle of water for me. And then, she proceeds to solve my problem. Big business with small business, not big business vs small business. 

She gets it. 
I am a human being. She is a human being. 
I am struggling and I need help. 
This is what business is all about--being of service, solving problems, supporting one another in our day to day lives. 

It’s not a business thing, it’s a human thing! I wasn't just a dollar sign, Sue* would not stop, she would not be satisfied, until I had a solution and felt better. She went far above and beyond what a damn job training manual instructed her to do. 

I could not stop thanking her for her compassion. I asked for a supervisor or the name of someone to send a letter of recognition to and she declined and simply said, “I’m just happy I could help you.” 

We should ALL be so lucky to do the same for our customers. 
Do the same for them. Do the same. 

There was no glory, no big pay out or a plaque in Sue's* honor. There was one simple gesture bestowed upon me in a time where I needed it most. And it was enough to remind me that it’s not about big vs small, or neighbor vs neighbor or return on investment. If you always strive to give and help and truly pull people up in business, you will get that same respect and honor bestowed upon you when you least expect it but very much so need it.

*name has been changed for the story.

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1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic post that almost brought me to tears.... we have all been there and know how that one person who is willing to challenge the bureaucracy and fight the power, so to speak, becomes a SUPER-hero in our eyes that we cannot thank enough.

    Thank you for sharing this and for reminding us that if you strive to help and pull people up in business, you will get the same respect and honor back when you are not expecting it!