It was time for my haircut; I was early and I tried to kill time because the barber only opens at 8 o’clock.
I stood in front of the door at 07:53 looking inside. I gestured, in hope and expectation, to the barber inside the question, “what time do you open?” He walked towards the door and pointed to the sign on the door, confirming what I already knew that business hours were from 8:00 to 4:30. He then unlocked the door and I fully expected to be told they could only open at 8 but to my amazement I was met with a friendly, “no problems Sir, I will just have to turn a few things on, if you don’t mind, please take a seat!”
What followed was arguably one of the best, most attentive, haircuts I have ever had. Just after 8 o’clock another staff member (a young lady), got to work and immediately complained about why the shop was opened so early. Before my barber could answer I shouted out with a big grin, “because I was early and this is an example of customer service!” The tardy young girl had clearly just woken up and thrown on some clothing, she was still half asleep as she found her way to a chair giving me a wry smile.
On paying I insisted on calling the owner of the barber franchise. My young barber apprehensively gave me the number of his “boss”. The Boss answered his cell phone at 08:27 and on hearing it was a customer calling, his voice changed as he fully expected a complaint.
“I have just had my hair cut at your Eastgate branch and I just would like to inform you about the conduct of the young man who served me”.
“Yes!” I picked up a quiver in the voice.
“Un-flippen-believe-able!” “Not only did he accommodate me when I was early but I have never had anyone take so much time on my hair. He was courteous, polite and professional and I just want to tell you that I have just had an outstanding experience in your store. He is
a rock star!” The smile on this young mans face was priceless. The “boss” was flawed and battled to get the words of gratitude out.
The shock in the voice of the franchise owner was not new to me; you see complimenting people for doing their job correctly is somewhat of a habit of mine. Why is it that we are very quick to find fault and some of us are even quicker to write a letter of complaint, to moan, condemn and spread the negative word. But when it comes to people who excel at what they do how many of us are in the habit of writing a letter, e-mail or making a
simple phone call?
On the way to a mine on the other side of Klerksdorp I had the misfortune to be stuck behind a truck. As the roads opened up, or it was possible, cars eventually passed by the truck but I noticed that the driver was extremely courteous and aware of the plight of the travellers behind him.
He would wave them past when he saw it was safe to do so; he stuck to the speed limit and seemed to be extremely road safety conscious. I noticed a sticker on the back of the truck that read; Report my drive and a phone number – I called.
I was met with a voice again expecting a complaint. “I just want to tell you that the driver of the truck registration number blah blah has shown extreme courtesy, safety and at all-times has stuck to the speed limit. And I just called to let you know that I am extremely impressed with the job that he is doing and because your logos are on the side of the vehicle he is in fact building your brand, he is a rock star!”
“Are you serious?”
“In 30 years of working I have never received a phone call like this, are you being serious?”
Once he got over the shock and awe it actually sank in to him that the call was to compliment and acknowledge a job well done.
Clem Sunter refers to South Africa having pockets of excellence. Pockets of excellence that actually keep the lights on and the country in business. I believe that there are hundreds of thousands of such people who go about their jobs every day making sure that the job is done correctly, on time, the first time, every time. I call them Section 8’s or Mad people. People who Make A Difference, or simply – Rock Stars. This month I honour the Rock Stars without which there would be no hope.
Let’s make November the recognition of Rock Stars month.
Look around you! Do you see a star that rocks at what he / she does sitting in your department or division? If so send an e-mail, note or just call them and tell them that they rock!
Have you experienced a job rocker within the last three weeks?
Think back carefully and if you have, take the 10 or 15 minutes to trace them and let them and their superiors know that they made the difference.
Be on guard for the next four weeks for those stars who come into your life. They may be top surgeons who save the life of a family member, clerks, accountants, salesmen, call centre agents, Telkom technician who … okay I won’t push it … Or they could be the waiter at the takeaway joint
or your domestic worker. (I just stopped this newsletter and gave Khethile an explanation, a compliment and a hug). They come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life and they tend to sneak up on you when you least expect it but you will spot them because they brighten your day and restore your faith in humanity.
Some of you may not have to look any further than your homes. I bet you that there is at least one person within your inner circle or family who makes a difference in your life without any regard for personal gain. Those people who sacrifice their time, effort and give of their love for no other reason than they care. Isn’t it time that you recognised them and told them so!
Let’s catch ‘em doing it right and let’s tell ‘em “you rock baby”!
Have a groovy month and keep being the Rock Star!