Redefining Customer Service


Are any of us ever truly prepared for parenthood? The market is flooded with books on the subject, but as many of us now know, no amount of books can fully prepare you for that job entitled, “parent”–that job you take on for not just a week or month or year but for a life time.

It is the easiest job to land. You do not have to submit a resume or go through a series of interviews. No one checks your references or your qualifications. You don't even have to pass a background check or a drug test. Many of us land the job with little effort of our own. But once we are in that position and hold that title, our lives are changed forever. It is one of, or more likely, the most difficult job we will ever encounter.

Most of what we know about the job comes from on-the-job training experiences or through a series of trial and error. As soon as we think we have it all figured out, everything ups and changes. What works one day does not work the next. We often find ourselves back to the drawing board conjuring up a new plan of action. Plan A, B, C, and D have already been scratched, and we are now working on Plan E. All this guess work and learning as we go along often leaves us frustrated, baffled, and worse of all, questioning our abilities as a parent. As parents, we never quite know if we are doing anything right. Often, all we can do is love our children with all our heart and hope for the best.

Yes, in my opinion, parenthood is the most difficult job we will ever sign up for, but it is also the most rewarding. My children are grown, so I can attest that the rewards do come; they are real and believe it or not, they continue even after they grow up and move out.

I had one of those moments the other day. My 22 year old son, Matthew, came up to me and said, “Mom, I did something that would make you proud.”  Matthew is a General Manager at Chipotle in Harrison, Ohio. He proceeded to tell me that one morning last week, he received a phone call from a frantic lady who had eaten at his Chipotle with her husband the night before. Her husband lost his wedding ring, and he believed he may have dropped it in the waste basket when he washed his hands in the restroom. She wanted to know if anyone at Chipotle had found it. Matthew said no one had turned it in, but he would look for it later. He had upper management visiting the store that day, so he knew he would not have time until after they left, but he promised the woman he would search for it. And he kept his promise.

At the end of his shift, he went out to the dumpster and just stared, thinking, “I am going to need a miracle.” By this time, the dumpster had collected another days worth of garbage. It was now late afternoon, and the temperature had reached 92 degrees. One can only imagine what kind of conditions he was facing. However, my son was not going to let that stop him. He said all day he felt compelled to look for that ring. He admits that as he stood there looking at the mound of garbage, he knew he was going to need some help, so he said a little prayer: “God, please help me find that ring.”

He was smart enough to devise a strategy before he dug into that mess. His plan was to look in each bag for a receipt with the time of day stamped on it. That way he could narrow the bags down to those that were collected around the time the couple ate at the restaurant.  He found two bags with receipts that fell within that time frame. The first bag he searched came up empty. He moved on to the second bag and with total amazement and relief, he found the ring.

All the while he searched the garbage bin, his co-workers were watching. Many of them were thinking–He is crazy, especially since the man was not even sure he lost it at Chipotle. However, his co-workers were not witnessing some crazy, mad man. What they saw was a manager dedicated to customer service.

Needless to say, the woman and her husband were overcome with joy. My son did not expect anything in return, but the couple insisted on giving him $200 and a $50 gift card. What my son was truly grateful for was what they did next. As it turned out, the man is affiliated with Ernst & Young, an accounting firm that does work for Chipotle. He made a point of emailing top management at Chipotle and telling them what Matthew did for them and how he went beyond the call of duty to assist them.

Well, as a parent who started out knowing nothing about raising children, who spent years fumbling my way through parenthood, and who on numerous occasions shed tears as I wondered if I taught my children anything good or instead ruined them for life, I now stood proud and tall, smiling from ear to ear, and shouting inside and out– “Hooray, I must have guessed right somewhere along the way.”

Not only am I a proud parent, but I must confess that my son turned the table and taught me a lesson or two about customer service. He taught me that customer service is more than just providing a good quality product or service. It is about telling your customers that you care. And that is exactly what Matthew did when he dug through garbage to find the man's wedding ring. That ring had no bearing on Chipotle's food quality, food production, or timely service. But it had everything to do with telling the customer that he matters.

This is a lesson I plan to take with me every day I come to work at HG Logistics LLC where I hope to let our customers know that we are one freight transportation broker and third party logistics company in Cincinnati, Ohio that cares.