How far would you go to help your customer (even if you feel like puncturing their car tyres with a knife)?

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Cover of "The Deer Hunter"
Cover of The Deer Hunter

“If anything happens Mike, you don’t – don’t leave me over there. You got, you gotta…Just don’t leave me. You gotta promise me that, Mike.” Nick – From the Deer Hunter

I recently re-watched the movie “The Deer Hunter”. Apart from the commentary of the times that the film depicted, the idea struck me that the characters held an important lesson for business.

Michael, the hero in the movie, looks after Nick and Steven. Michael helps to restore Steven’s marriage, broken by his disability because of the war. Nick is another story. Without giving the plot away, Mike tries his level best to “rescue” Nick from his emotional and psychological hell in Vietnam.

Now, it’s interesting that when you think about it you don’t get many Michaels.

Michael went out of his way to be the best friend he could be to his to dear friends.

How many Michaels have you come across in your life?

The Michael depicted in the movie may for some not be a realistic character but he does strive for a high ideal. But more than that he actually goes out of his way to help his friends. I could probably count on my one hand the number of people who I have known over many years who are like Michael. These are the people that care deeply about their family and friends. These are the people that will be with them through sickness and health. These are the people that tirelessly look after people with disabilities for years. They help friends when they have overreached and got themselves into trouble and are there to help them pick up their lives after bereavement, financial loss and personal disaster.

What makes these people special is that they have developed their affective or emotional side. Basically, they care deeply about their family, friends and colleagues and when crunch time comes will do everything to help them. It reminds me of something I heard about a company in the Western Cape who has made it their policy that every employee owns a house and that every employee receives flowers on their birthday.

How does one develop your affective side whether to support family, friends, colleagues or customers?

You probably have your own ideas on this but I would say it’s all about values. It starts with a mindset, attitudes, beliefs, behaviour and is driven by values that turn into kind action. It’s not about giving back but rather about paying forward. It’s promoting a safe culture, for example, at work where the leaders and managers care about their employees rather than promote risk-taking. It’s about going out of your way to help customers, tracking down difficult-to-find spare parts when you know it’s going to make a big difference to the customer’s life and pocket. It’s also thinking about providing your customers with better value then you have done so in the past. It’s about making their lives easier.

Trust, respect, responsibility, caring, being supportive and going out of your way – that’s what the effective or emotional side of building relationships is all about.

If you have reached a ceiling or are being shunted about by change, want to mine your existing job for potential for a new role, want to start your own business or want to rewire yourself for something new, you want to get hold of a copy of “Breakthrough Ideas”. It doesn’t promise to help develop your affective or emotional side but will help you pivot from where you are now to where you want to be in the future.

One Reply to “How far would you go to help your customer (even if you feel like puncturing their car tyres with a knife)?”

  1. My experience has been that overall, people have forgotten about service excellence, and, the customer instead of being prized is treated as a given. In these economic times of hardship it constantly astounds me that the notion of ‘the customer being king’ is a thing of the past.

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