Friday, March 03, 2006

Rescue Service

What happened was, the cable went down on me yesterday. Or maybe it was my modem or my router. Over an hour’s time, I got a good lesson in service – plus a reminder of why I’m doing what I’m doing now, instead of what I was doing a year and a half ago.

First, here’s the shortest possible way to explain the cable outage and its solution. I got back to the computers in the late afternoon. Discovered that my access to the Internet was out. Called Time Warner technical support and spoke with a very nice young woman (I’ll call her “Zelda.”)

I explained my problem (a recurring one) to Zelda. She took me through the steps. You know: unplug this, replug that, restart your computer. Nothing came up. I was pretty angry because this is a difficulty I’ve had before. But I maintained my politeness and Zelda was constantly helpful. In the end though, we couldn’t get the modem back on line. Zelda scheduled a service call for this coming Monday, four days away. Phone call ended.

I stewed about this for half an hour. There’s a variety of work I have to do Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Need the Internet access. Gotta have it. So I called Time Warner tech support again and this time got a nice young man: “Arthur.” I explained my frustration (and kept my temper). I asked him if there was anything at all he could suggest that would get me back on line. Patiently, Arthur took me through the same steps. They didn’t work. Then he suggested that I unplug the modem from the router and plug it directly into one of the computer. Then reboot the machine. It’s the older of the two computers; it took several minutes. During this agonizing period (too used to instant gratification…a couple of minutes, right?), Arthur hung in there with me. I plugged the modem back in. And the computer came up.

I was drowning and Arthur got me a lifeline. (I honestly believe Zelda would have done the same thing if I had given her the time to do it.) I was relieved, grateful, and thanked Arthur a lot. I could get on with my connected work life.

I realized then that Arthur did for me what I try to do with clients: maintain a helpful attitude and offer service, service, service. There’s a joy in giving service that is the key to building and maintaining relationships. That’s the rationale for the “customer-centric” philosophy (although it’s honored by most companies mainly in the breach).

This is what I was driving at when I added the word “amiability” to my blog and my web site. I feel better when I am offering service – and as Ron McCann says in The Joy of Service, there’s genuine pleasure in offering service. It’s what I wasn’t able to deliver the past few years in the agency business. It’s what I aim for now and always try to deliver. You may not always be up to your neck in the water, but I feel great about standing by with the life preserver.

That’s my little morality tale. Have a great weekend.

Karsten image provided by

1 comment:

Susan Kirkland said...

Dear Word Crafter: For shame.

"What happened was, the cable went down on me yesterday."

Positively double entendre. You have been dropped from the word worship group.