Thursday, May 01, 2008

Don't Doubt The Power Of One

Today's story comes to us from a loyal swim upstream reader who, for reasons you will discover, would rather remain nameless. It is a story about what any one of us can do to assert control over our lot in life in almost any given situation. It is a story about whether you'd rather be the hammer or the nail.

After a furnace breakdown on a Sunday of all days, this swim-upstreamer had to call a furnace repair service that made house calls on Sundays to fix the problem. The service was relatively timely, and the repair technician was knowledgeable and (luckily enough) had exactly the part he needed to fix the furnace in his truck.

Not a great story so far. Where this story gets interesting is in the 'after the service' service. The repairman charged $90 for labour and was at the house a total of 15 to 20 minutes... possibly steep but possibly fair. The kicker is that the replacement part cost $319. After some research, this exact part could be purchased for $56.

So the swim upstreamer (as swim upstreamers do) took it upon themselves to call the repair person back and inquire as to the large mark up. They were met with "can't I turn a profit?" "How much profit do you think is fair for a company to make?" and the real winner...
"You know, for every 3 people like you who call and complain about the service- I have 97 in line to take their place".

How is THAT for customer service?

Well the entertaining end to this frustrating tale is that instead of stressing or passing on negativity to others who don't deserve it, this insightful human being took the following action;

- through research determined that this company had no website
- purchased their URL for less than the furnace part cost (less than $56)
- wrote the story and quoted the company owner ver betum on the site
- installed a site tracker to show the owner how many people are seeing this message
- and is willing to sell the URL to the company owner for... you guessed it- $319!

Let this be a reassurance to us all- we have a choice as consumers as to where we will shop and from whom; and we have rights as consumers that we do not have to forgo simply because there is a shortage of certain services in this labor market.

Let it also remind us all that for both the right reasons and the wrong reasons, one person really can make a BIG difference: hopefully you are inspiring people to do so through positivity and not through revenge.

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