Thoughts about Customer Service: 25 Days of Gremlins, Generosity of Spirit and Gratitude

Written by: Tony Mussari, Sr.
Photographs by: Kitch Loftus Mussari
Copyright 2010
Mussari-Loftus Associates,LTD

One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing
is what we do for others.
Lewis Carol

Sometimes without wanting it or doing anything to make it happen, you become the story you are covering. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does there are consequences.

Here are the numbers for our Face of America journey:

Miles traveled: 21,000
States visited: 39
Interviews videotaped: 90+ hours
Digital pictures recorded: 56,000

The past few weeks have been filled with apprehension, inconvenience and anxious moments. 

First it was the automobile accident on Interstate 77 just outside Minneapolis, then it was an experience with a new computer that no one will believe, and then it was an unsuccessful attempt to register and upload a video we produced for Toyota’s tenth anniversary celebration of the Prius.

To make three long and painful stories very short:
After the accident, our Prius was declared a total loss.  The cause…structural damage;

We lost several days of work and two portable hard drives because the new Toshiba Satellite L655D-S5050 we purchased was defective;

We had two days of failed attempts to upload our entry for the Toyota Prius Tenth Anniversary Celebration.

Last night we uploaded the video to the Video page of our Face of America website.   We call it Bumps on the Road. You can watch it at this address:

Without question, this has been one of the most stressful periods in the history of our project.  Several times Kitch and I came very close to the edge, but every time we were struggling someone showed up to help us. Often times it was an encouraging note. Sometimes it was a pleasant telephone call or message. Once it was a plant left by a thoughtful friend who wanted to say thank you.

On a recent occasion it was an extraordinary example of customer service we received at Best Buy after we returned the problematic Toshiba Satellite L655D-S5050.

One thing America stands for on its best days is excellent customer service. Sometimes it’s a hidden treasure that is hard to find.  

Here are several quotations about customer service and excellence from Tom Peters.  Each one applies to someone who helped us find the opportunities that were born during our time of troubles:

Unless you walk out into the unknown, the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low. Thank You, Kitch.

Winners must learn to relish change with the same enthusiasm and energy that we have resisted it in the past. Thank You to everyone who helped us on Rt. 77.

If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade. Thank You, Cody Enloe, Walser Rental Company

Integrity may be about little things as much or more than big ones. Thank You, Mark Hudoba, Walser Collision Company.

Excellence comes from human beings doing things of value that customers find memorable. Thank You, Sean McGrath, Eastern Insurance Group

The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity. Thank You, Carmen Slabinski, & Ginger Lauby, State Farm Insurance Company

Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.  Thank You, Gerry O’Donnell, Motorworld.

If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention. Thank You, John Quinn, Motorworld.

The magic formula that successful businesses have discovered is to treat customers like guests and employees like people. Thank You, Eric McFarland, Best Buy Inc.

Celebrate what you want to see more of. Thank You, Mark White, Best Buy.

In our opinion, Tony Alessandra said it best: Service always wins the game.  

There is another one of my favorite quotations that applies to these 25 days of challenges. It came from the beautiful mind of John Wooden:

You cannot have a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you. Thank You, Mark Bailey.

Until the next time, we hope that all of your stories have happy endings.