Monday, October 17, 2005

Helping

Long time, no post.I'm not entierly sure why I haven't posted lately. Maybe it's because business has been doing reasonably well (although still feeling growing pains) but it has been dreary and repetitive. Not much new things seems to happen. That is not entierly true - we have some cool things coming up, but they feel too far off to get excited about.But...This morning, when I got out of bed after hitting 'snooze' almost 10 times, I didn't feel very motivated. My apartment still has a very temporary fell, with a cheap chair acting as my dinner table and clothing being strewn around due to lack of storage. I'm getting a few new bits of furniture each month, but it's still not a very nice apartment at the moment. Anyway, bottom line, my existance isn't exactly high-roller at the moment! I get a cup of coffee (without milk, because I was out of milk, grah) and sit down and watch the news. Doorbell rings.Who on *earth* could that be? Nobody rings my door at this time. I open the door, my hair standing straight up. I must have looked like Einstein on speed - haven't had a proper haircut in months. (Every penny saved...)A dark blonde teeny-tiny girl stands in front of me, dressed in pink. For a moment, my not-yet-caffeinated brain suggests that this is my landlord, shrunk down and dressed in a pink dress. However, I quickly deduce that this is not the case, when I see the taller woman (presumably her mother) standing behind her. They were both dressed in slippers.

Turns out that they had been locked out of their own building, and that she needed to borrow my phone. Being a nice and service-minded chap, I was quick to respond! (I’ve just gotten a new phone for renewing my plan with Vodafone – a flat rate plan – pretty much unlimited calls, SMS and data per month)

After I had explained to her how to use my Treo 650, she had to make three calls before anyone could come get her and drive her to the place where she kept her. She politely asked before the second and third call if she could make one more, and I explained that I didn’t pay anything for the calls, so just go ahead.

After she got hold of someone, she thanked me, and they went back to their house. And the strange thing – this event bloody MADE MY MORNING! I felt SO good! Helping people that directly really makes you feel great. When I got in this morning, after biking through the city with “I’ll take that as a yes” by Phil Vassar blazing in my earphones, I felt I had to blog this quickly.

It’s so easy to forget what business is all about: Helping other people. Sure, they pay you for your services, and it isn’t altruistic, but it’s still about helping people – making their lives better.
This is especially easy to forget when you are like me, running a high-volume ecommerce business, dealing with lots of customers, and doing customer support via email only. I simply don’t see our customers face-to-face, and mostly don’t talk to them. This makes them feel slightly less real, and some days, they are just numbers on the sales stats page to me!

I really should hold a contest to get some customer action shots, like ThinkGeek.
http://www.thinkgeek.com/cubegoodies/toys/69de/action/

I’ve previously only seen it as a marketing thing – something to have on the web site, but new I see that it has a really high value from a motivational standpoint. Watching a glimpse of the lives you improve really is a high-motivator for you, and a great source of energy.

Thank you!


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