Things are not always what they seem…
Just Wednesday last week, I am hurtling down the Ohio Turnpike in my husband’s ‘06 BMW 3 series with over 225,000 miles on it, on my way to a couple of business meetings near my home town in Ohio. Great car. Has served us well. Back to hurtling down the highway, at close to 80 mph in the fast lane, I crest a hill, and suddenly there’s no power to the accelerator. In fact, the car is slowing down. Prickly hands, trucks flying by, I make my way over to the slower lane, mind racing, what the heck is going on? Did I mention I am in my husband’s car? I have no idea where anything is. At least not the hazard lights. By now I am pulled over on the shoulder, find the flashers and notice that the engine temperature warning light is on. I also noticed that there was a rest stop 3 miles ahead…so I limp at 20 mph to the rest stop on the shoulder, and call AAA for a tow. One water pump later, I am back on the road.
I thought about how, on other trips we’ve taken, my husband gets frustrated when people are driving too slowly for his liking. On several occasions, he’s even remarked “doesn’t that person know they could cause an accident driving that slow?”
Now I know firsthand that maybe, just maybe that person is having car troubles like I was. It occurred to me much later in the comfort of my hotel room, that I was more immediately worried about being stranded and not making my appointments, than I was about the fact that I could have caused a horrible accident.
It reminds me in business, how we get caught up in our own world of accommodating our clients and exceeding their expectations – all good. We also at times, get frustrated with the “hurry up and wait” scenarios, and not hearing back with approvals, feedback or direction in a timely enough manner that helps keep our projects on track. It’s really easy for us to forget what’s going on in our client’s world – both business and personal – when we are not there. Is the client caught up in endless meetings? Did something we do leave a false impression? Are they in the middle of a reorganization? Have they had an illness in the family we are not privy to? Are they traveling and not able to get back to us right now?
Applying client empathy helps to understand that they too, have many outside influences that affect their day, that their agency is not always top of mind. How do we avoid causing an accident with our clients? By open and constant communication, continually delivering and demonstrating the value of our services.
- Posted in: Thoughts
- Friday, September 09, 2011.