I recall being about 12 years old and getting dressed up in my Sunday best, but what I was getting dressed for was better than church! I must have been excited because I still remember the dress I wore (lavender and white checks, just below my knees) … I was going on a sales call with my Dad to Iowa Beef Processing in Sioux Falls. It was fun getting to have time just with my Dad during the drive (normally I shared his attention with four younger siblings). I remember driving down a road (probably Hwy 91 where there are like no other cars from miles) and him teaching me the importance of giving good customer service. I saw his business Weiland Doors go from being a very small operation in his wood shop to having a larger manufacturing floor that afforded our family a very nice lifestyle by the time I was in college.
To this day, I still have a problem with getting “burned up” when I am not getting good customer service. In fact, it just happened today. I start out calm and then when the business representative makes a lame excuse or doesn’t ask how the problem is negatively influencing my life, I am less than patient. I think my reaction might be because I was taught to have much higher expectations!
I think the process should be to show the customer with a complaint value, ask questions to find out how they are being negatively influenced by a poor service or product performance, then validate them and find out what they would like for a resolution. When I am the unhappy customer and all of this goes well, I am quite patient and polite since mistakes do happen. However, when it does not, I can admittedly become agitated.
My observation is that my Dad is the same way, when he gets bad customer service or poor relationship repair, he will get aggravated.
What I know now is that my Dad also generally gave good customer service in his personal relationships. With this, I feel very fortunate… I have come to recognize that many women do not feel their fathers listened to their concerns or feelings.
I also saw role modeling for marriage- I still remember my mother complaining to him about something (we were in the kitchen and I don’t recall the exact complaint) and my Dad said, “You’re right… that was thoughtless of me. How can I do better?”
When I was in my 20’s, I was in a relationship in which there was no Relationship Repair. It was awful. I would persistently look for resolution and for my concerns to be listened to. To no avail, so I eventually was smart enough to leave. I knew there was a better way, and I was not going to tolerate not being valued on a regular basis from any man in my life! I had my Dad as a role model.
Compared to a lot of people, my Dad is rich in life and in love. Financially, he built a national company and in his family relationships he has a lot of people who love him dearly. He has a satisfactory marriage and a lot of happy kids and grandchildren that just love to spend time with him.
It’s no surprise that I have been persistent about providing and expecting good relationship repair in my own personal life. And when it comes to my professional life, my teaching of how to have a Customer Service Counter for your relationships (including Relationship Repair for your personal relationships), well… I first learned that from my Dad!
Happy Father’s Day weekend to a truly remarkable father. I am so fortunate to be one of your daughters!