It is around twenty years ago that Mark Sanborn, a professional speaker, trainer and author on leadership and customer services met Fred his postman. Mark had just moved into his new home in Denver when Fred knocked on his door, introduced himself and welcomed him to the neighbourhood. He also asked Mark about himself and how he wanted his mail handled while he was away.
Mark was astonished. This was not the service he had come to expect from a postman. He was truly pleasantly surprised and delighted by Fred's approach and manner.
Mark became interested and asked Fred more about his job and how he approached it. Fred's answers inspired him to develop motivational seminars and a bestselling book (The Fred Factor) promoting Fred's attitude and approach to life.
In a nutshell, the Fred philosophy is to realise and practise that everyone can make a difference; success is built on good relationships; you must continually create value for others and it doesn't have to cost anything; you can reinvent yourself whenever you want.
In the past few months I have had the pleasure to meet two 'Fred's from the ACR industry. The first was a service engineer who I bumped into by chance when I walked into a client's refrigeration plant room on a site in Birmingham. The young engineer was knowledgeable, enthusiastic, helpful and a pleasure to speak to. The second was a food factory engineer who managed the refrigeration plant along with all the other services required in a modern food production environment. Although not a specialist refrigeration engineer, he went out of his way to provide the information I required and to answer all my questions and more.
Both of these engineers embodied excellent customer service qualities described in the 'Fred Factor'.
We should never forget that although highly technical by nature, the ACR industry is a still a service industry with customer service excellence being a key to business success. If you think that is a cliché, imagine how long a company can survive that ignores this in the competitive market place we find ourselves in today. Customers do have a choice and they will go to where they perceive they most consistently get what pleases and impresses them.
The 'Fred' philosophy is built on timeless values like personal responsibility, authentic relationships, and respect for others. It is in essence, a mind-set that looks for and seizes opportunities to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
The ACR industry has individuals who go beyond the ordinary and create extraordinary experiences for their clients. These are not only service engineers; they are from all business fields, from sales through to administrators. Their attitude to customer service should be recognised by this industry in the same way as technical excellence is. Normal is overrated and has never been a term that should be applied to our industry. We should have a 'Fred' Award, although I am sure that we can give it a more appropriate name from one of the many fine examples from our own industry.
15 April 2013 23:21:00