The car came careening around the bend, squealing tires shattering the peaceful night. It grazed the tail of one parked vehicle on the left. The driver overcorrected and shot to the right, clipping the rear bumper of an SUV. Unimpeded, the fiberglass bullet continued its crazed path over a curb and across a bed of decorative rocks, sprawling them across the road of the apartment complex.
It was the jarring sound of careening object meeting stationary fire hydrant that shocked me awake around 2:15. Separating the blinds, I had a perfect view of the vehicle standing in the middle of the road, seemingly contemplating its next move. The fire hydrant had been ripped from its foundation, lying some ten feet from its previously upright position. From a distance, the large piece of rubber dislodged from beneath the car looked to be a shrub or maybe even a body.
Having made his decision, the driver slammed the accelerator to flee the scene. His car was less than cooperative; the shrill sound was far more impressive than the forward movement. It struggled past my building and out of sight, but I could tell it hadn’t gotten far. The car coughed to stay alive until the driver finally coaxed it out of the complex.
Two residents had already arrived on the scene and telephoned for help as the car limped away. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, a Travis County Sheriff’s patrol car pulled up. My wife said, “Wow, they got here really fast.” I pulled my clothes on and headed outside. Two more patrol cars quickly arrived and just as quickly went off to search for the wrecking machine. One of the residents and I stayed to speak with the deputy about what we saw.
The deputy was calm and asked a lot of questions, collecting details important to his report. He walked the territory, inspecting the damaged vehicles and looking for others. For us, the most important thing was that he was there. He arrived quickly and went about his business in a professional manner. He was a symbol of returning normality to our lives after an unexpected event. He reassured us.
Of course, there are more details to the story. No, so far we have no idea who the driver was or if the sheriff’s office found the car. Frankly, it couldn’t have gone all that far.
Here’s the point: Can your customers or clients, supervisors or colleagues say these things about your service? “Wow, you were very responsive to my needs.” “Wow, you understood what I needed in order to feel heard, valued, and respected.” “Wow, whenever I’ve had an unpleasant or traumatic experience, you have always made me feel that my well-being and that of my company or organization was their top priority.”
And it doesn’t have to be a crisis or traumatic event. Do you meet your deadlines? Do you do always do your best, and does it show? Do you do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it?
Upon the recent death of writer, poet, activist, and teacher Maya Angelou, I’m reminded of her quotation: “People will not remember what you said. People will not remember what you did. But people will always remember how you made them feel.”
How are you making your customers feel? Do you give your customers, supervisors, and colleagues a “Wow!” experience?