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Massage Today
May, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 05

Excuse Me, May I Take This Call?

By Perry Isenberg

A huge portion of the working population really doesn't understand the meaning of "a job well done." A few years ago, I was getting a very relaxing massage (not my current massage therapist) when I heard the phone ring, followed by "Do you mind if I take this call -- I"ll only be a second."

If this ever happened to you and you took the call, do yourself a favor: try to remember the client at the time, and either refund their money or offer them a free session.

"Yeah, right" you say - after all, it was just a two-second phone call!

I'm serious! As consumers you know full well that you hate paying for things you do not receive. Did the client get a 60-minute, undisturbed session with your full attention? Did you wash your hands after touching the telephone? Why should the service the client pays for be interrupted so you can answer the phone?

There appears to be a current downward slide in the quality level of products and services being offered, and less demands from the consumer.

Everyone knows that the current consumer is more educated, demanding and savvy than in the past. Many factors contribute to this, including a larger-than-ever group of retailers and business people who sought to separate themselves from the pack by doing everything better and more consistently.

This new group of business people has taught us to accept a mistake now and then, but overall to expect more. When you're not satisfied, you should be financially compensated -- a refund. There's a big difference between sufficient, satisfactory and perfect. I say we should only pay for perfect and settle for less as the exception, not the norm.

It seems to me that this higher level of service and quality products is not holding up, and that demanding, savvy consumers are backing down, willing to accept less than perfect. There are many factors accounting for this trend. I believe the primary reason is because the imperfect human cannot consistently deliver perfection. Consumers are tired of looking for perfection, so we are starting to accept satisfactory.

A shortage of time and an abundance of wealth are also a part of the problem -- "I don't have time to shop around, but I have enough money not to worry about value."

The saying, "you get what you pay for," does not have the same meaning it used to. Now, you're still paying premium prices for the "good" stuff, but only getting satisfactory in return.

A friend of mine uses a lawn & garden service to take care of his property. I visited one day and admired his lawn and garden, but asked why he doesn't get the company to blow away all the dead leaves in the garden. His comment was, "the service is supposed to do it, and sometimes they do and sometimes they don't." Of course, I replied, "So I guess you don't pay them for the service call." He looked at me like I was nuts, and responded, "After all, they were here, and they did cut the grass. You can't not pay them because they didn't blow out the leaves."

I hope my point is obvious. My friend's view is to accept 80% of the service and pay 100% for it. This is ridiculous. It undermines the consumer's obligation to set acceptable standards for products and services.

Most of you most likely think I'm being too harsh and overly demanding -- I'm not. I'm also not perfect, nor is our company. We probably make mistakes every day, and when we do, our company finds a way to compensate the customer, to show our regret for the error and our appreciation for their understanding and business.

I don't care how long you've worked with a particular client. Never let your relationship become so informal that you think you can cut corners. You should treat each visit with 100%. Nothing less will do.

In the meantime, be healthy, be good, and stay focused and motivated.

Click here for previous articles by Perry Isenberg.


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