Customer Service

Week 70 – July 18, 2021 – How do you make people feel

I had an incredible experience dropping off my winter tires at the car dealership. I am moving (again) back to Prince George, post-pandemic, in preparation of returning back to in person teaching in the fall at the university. This transition back into “regular life” is emergent, chaotic, and uncertain to say the least. I tried coming up to Prince George twice from the Sunshine Coast, but my engine emissions light flashed on during my first attempt. My car was loaded with books, so I returned back on the ferry to unload and reload my car with my winter tires and a few lighter things. I wanted to leave that day, which was Sunday, to avoid traffic, but the engine light persisted. Thank you Google and a second ferry trip, I returned back to the Coast and made a car appointment for Wednesday, the first one I was able to make.

My trip was postponed and I was making plans on getting a moving truck from Prince George and packing what I could while I waited. Damn. I am self-declaring myself a hoarder. I have stuff in my office from the early 90’s and rejection letters from summer jobs I applied to as a university student. I had my high school report cards and lots of “keepsakes” from my kid and my past experiences. I even found a book signed by my former teacher sponsor from practicum and by the students in her class. I didn’t even realize until now that I had a keepsake from my teacher education experience. If anything, this moving process is helping me to see myself in a different way and to see what I value, what I need to pay more attention to, and to me more present or intentional with my actions. Also, the extra few days gave me a chance to reconnect with a couple of my good friends on the Coast. I value our friendship, the conversations, and the walks that we go on in the forest and along the ocean.

I also had some time to spend with dog, Sally. She was not doing well for a year. We were very aware of her condition and never knew when she would pass away. She was the best dog ever. Never complained. Always a lady. You can see her in this photo above on a car ride with me and the kid. She just loved them. Such a happy dog. She was with us for 15-year. I remember the first day we got her. I loved her so much. I loved her energy, disposition, and kindness. I loved just picking her up, giving her a big hug, and kissing her all over. I loved our routines of a morning treat, lying by the fireplace, and going for walks. I have many good memories of her. It makes me sad that she passed away on Wednesday. I was in Vancouver getting my car fixed. I received the call while in the ferry line up returning home. She passed away. Everyone was out of the house and she was lying peacefully. She said her goodbyes the night before and during the day. She was such a good dog. Missing her.

Ok… back on topic… which I am… sort of.

I thought the engine light was a bit in my head because I brought my car in a week before in preparation for my departure and did a tonne of repairs then. It turned out that the sensor needed repairing. The service department did a fantastic job on my car (both times) and have nothing to complain about the quality of work on my car. But, the service department person didn’t believe my story about my engine light. He even took my key to check if the engine light was on. He did not believe me that I said it was on and off. That morning, the light was off. And yes, he returned from my car to let me know that the engine light was indeed off and informed me that investigating this perceived problem would cost $100. I said yes… do it. I could not risk it.

That experience was odd and then to find out that there was a problem, I was a bit annoyed. I am glad the work was done and done well but I’m left with a feeling that made me blog about it. Now, in Prince George, as mentioned earlier, I had to bring my car to the dealership to store my winter tires. I had the service department contact me about what the service appointment was about and when I arrived, everyone was happy, enthusiastic, and encouraging. It was a Friday afternoon. Their positive disposition took me aback, but also inspired me to blog about it as well. At first, I felt like I was a walking rain cloud, but really, I was left with a feeling… that anything is possible, I am important, and they were willing to help me out.

I think about this experience and education. We can be technically sound, but how do we leave people feeling? This is an important question and one I have grappled with for a few years. I wonder about customer service and quality of work. We can have both, but in the end, it’s how we left the customer feeling. In education, it’s the learner. I am also left with Brene Brown’s work and thinking about the work we each have to do in order to provide that experience for learners. It’s a big journey and often feel that it is transforming over time. We need to be patient with ourselves, believe in what we are doing, and know our purpose (or why) and how it is interconnected a bigger why. I appreciated the intentionality and hope that was provided at customer service (and hope that my tires are stored in a good way).

Thank you for this lesson.