As we travel the world and teach people the principles of Appreciation Marketing, we always like to “take the high road” and always speak in glowing terms when we tell our stories. First of all, it’s good karma, and most people can relate to a story about how somebody improved his or her life profoundly by exercising the laws of appreciation and gratitude.
However, sometimes a story is best told in reverse.
Case in point, I needed some firewood this winter. I only purchase wood every two or three years (and I always wait until the last minute) so I don’t have a regular supplier. So, I opened up the local newspaper and saw a whole list of people selling firewood. It’s all about the same price ($200 a chord) seasoned and split.
I called the first number (starting in my own town first) and I left a voicemail.
I called the second number (also from my town) and left another voicemail.
I figured I’d stop there, and the first one to call me back tonight gets my business. Well, neither called me back that night.
The next day I called another number and got a live person. He’s a few towns over, but can deliver it tomorrow. Perfect.
The wood gets dumped out in my driveway on Sunday morning, I pay in cash, and then I commence to stacking the wood under my deck. For those of you who have never stacked a chord of wood . . . it’s a lot. After a few hours, I finished the chore and figured I’d go in and light my first fire of the year. Guess what? I couldn’t get the wood to burn. It was heavy, it was wet, and (as my father commented) it was “green.”
The next day I was sitting in the waiting room at my doctor’s office and thought about my new “wood guy.” I struggled with contacting him because I didn’t really have a solution. The wood was delivered and I already stacked it up. I don’t want him to come take it away. But I figured I’d text him and see what he might say or do.
I texted, “I’m pretty disappointed with that firewood, Mark. I can’t burn it.”
After sending it, I sat back and wondered how an expert of Appreciation Marketing might reply. I was thinking that if it were me, I might reply something like, “I’m so sorry Mr Wyatt. How can I make it right?” Maybe I’d offer a partial refund, or drop off some extra (better) wood.
Here’s what I got. “Really? You are the first and only customer in 20 years to say that.”
Hmm. Just lucky I guess? Does that reply make my firewood any good? Does that reply have anything to do with my disappointment? Does it do anything to put me at ease? And the most important question of all . . . WILL I EVER DO BUSINESS WITH THAT GUY AGAIN? Would you?
Sorry, Mark from Roxbury, CT. You became a blog post. As my eleven-year-old daughter would say, “Epic fail.”