Al’s Column: Living by the Golden Rule

Home Al’s Column Al's Column: Living by the Golden Rule

By Typhannie Watson—”Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

We have heard this phrase, known as “The Golden Rule,” most of our lives. The Golden Rule is widely known across different cultures around the world, in both religious and secular circles, and operates on the assumption that everyone likes to be treated in the same way you would like to be treated.

That phrase came to mind recently when a customer verbally expressed her appreciation for the way we treated her during her experience with us. We were present during her time in the showroom, scheduled her in-home estimate appointment, showed up promptly and then turned around the estimate 24 hours after being at her home.

While the kind words she offered were nice to hear, to me this level of service is part and parcel of the core values we employ at our store every single day. There is no wiggle room here. This is what we do with each and every customer. In this particular case, the customer told me she had called several other industry businesses for her remodel project and yet couldn’t even get a phone call back, let alone an estimate in writing.

As flooring dealers, I know we are all swamped these days, but I cannot fathom not return- ing a call from a customer— existing or prospective. I got to thinking—was I being a little too customer-centric in this case? Then I thought: will she be calling those businesses that ignored her or saying positive things about them in the future? Probably not. If anything, she will likely relay her negative experience to others. And none of us would like to be on the receiving end of that.

How many times have you been in a situation where you are purchasing a product, making a return or looking to get a service done only to hear, “no,” or “We can’t do it.” It’s not a good feeling, especially when you know the customer service agent or cashier didn’t blink an eye in automatically rejecting you.

I personally never liked hearing those words as a kid and especially don’t as an adult—and certainly not as a flooring business owner.

Like many of you in the floor covering industry, I do everything in my power to avoid the word “no.” When it comes to our customers, we must see solutions and not problems, and come through for them whenever and wherever we can. The goodwill that emanates from those feel-good situations can do wonders for your business as well as your soul.

Treating people with dignity and respect is a lesson my dad instilled in me when I was young. As an adult, the Golden Rule was reinforced to me— perhaps unknowingly—by my friend, Kaye Whitener. Kaye is the director of operations at the Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF), part of the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA).

We were chatting one day at a board meeting in San Diego when Kaye dropped that little tidbit on me about the importance of treating people the way you would like to be treated. When I got back to my hotel room later that evening, I wrote down her words and have tried to live by those words ever since. Whether Kaye knew she was impacting my life that day, I’m not sure. But I really took it to heart as a little reminder to stay the course and keep the Golden Rule as part of my constitution in everything I do.

It’s the best advice I’ve ever received.


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