I’ve been stuck in the house for the past couple of weeks. Like most people, my purchases have decreased, but I am trying to buy from local businesses when I have the chance. Most of my experiences have been great.

Here are a few examples of experiences that weren’t.

  • “I Don’t Care.” I drove to a fast service restaurant to pick up some dinner. As I got to the drive-thru, I ordered chicken flautas (which were listed on the menu). The person at the speaker told me they didn’t have any ready. I was not in a hurry and I’d driven about 20 minutes, so I asked how long it would take. He told me he didn’t know, but it would be a “long time.” Then he stopped talking. I knew he didn’t want to make them.I left and picked up dinner from a different restaurant on the way home
    .
  • “You Are Inconvenient.” My wife received an email from a local pizza restaurant announcing they now had a delivery service. One of the specials was appealing, and I went online and placed an order. Soon after, we received a phone call telling us we lived 3.7 miles away from the restaurant, and they only deliver in a 2-mile range, so they had to cancel our order.Disappointed and understanding the impact of the pandemic, I called a favorite pizza restaurant that was 8 miles away to see if it started delivery. We received our order in about 40 minutes. Delicious.

    By the way, my wife sent an email to the first pizza restaurant telling them about the problem we had. The owner wrote back telling us they didn’t know why we were told that. Their delivery range is 5 miles and we should have been able to get our order delivered.

  • “We Are Not Only Expensive, We Are Also Insensitive.” We decided to send some flowers to a friend who had just lost their mother. I went online to one of the 1-800 national florists and selected an item from their “same-day delivery” selections. They charged my card immediately after placing the order, and I received an email confirmation.About an hour later, I received a phone call from an agent to let me know the flowers I ordered were not available. She suggested a different selection as a substitute. I agreed. Then the agent told me the selection she offered could not be delivered for another four days. At that point, I told her just to cancel my order. She then proceeded to harass me for the next 20 minutes to buy something else. “I understand. But what about this?” “I understand, but let me tell you what else we offer.” I continued to tell her to cancel the order, and I even asked to speak to a supervisor when I couldn’t get her to stop pitching. When I finally got her to cancel the order, she told me it would take about two weeks for me to receive my credit.

    I then called a local florist and got them to deliver similar flowers the next day. I even saved $50.

One would think that as businesses compete for dwindling sales, there would be a lot of focus on quality and customer experience. Businesses are getting the opportunity to show who they are – their character. But disappointingly, that has failed to be accurate. A significant number of opportunities have been dropped. On the positive side, it helps me know which businesses to use in the future.

I’m not saying you lack character – even if you relate to these stories. But it takes a lot of will, planning, and effort to show character as an organization. “Tricks” may get you money. But character will get you customers. Everyone experiences storms. Storms don’t create character, they reveal it.

Here is a couple of things I’m doing now that might also benefit you as we fight this economy.

First, I’m teaming with Corey Harlock of KeyHire Recruiting Solutions to conduct a free 90-minute webinar, “Emerging From The COVID-19 Pandemic With A Stronger Plan and a Stronger Team”. If you believe your employees are your most important asset, this webinar is for you.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit us with the dual calamities of a health crisis and unforseeable change in the economy. As you deal with the impact it is important to see the situation clearly and have a plan, both now and after the crisis. Simply getting back to “normal” is not enough in many cases. In fact, the biggest opportunities arise when things are not “normal.”

Once you find your opportunity, you need to have the best team possible in order to achieve it. This webinar is on Wednesday, April 15th, from 9 am to 10:30 am CST. You can register for this webinar by clicking here. All help. No selling.

Second, I’m offering all business owners one free hour of coaching. We can use all the business friends we have to help talk through the decisions before us. The free hour carries no commitment or obligation for future work. The topic is your choice. To schedule your free hour, click here to find a day and time that works for both of us. We will meet via video conference or phone call. Again, all help. No selling.

I’ve worked with entrepreneurs and small businesses for over 30 years, in times of turnaround and times of growth. I have earned scars and wisdom from leading a company through the great recession in 2007-2009, so my experience and objectivity might be especially relevant now.

Blessings,

Keith

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

The Bible, Matthew 7:24-27

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