Serenity now! And what I learned about customer service from my computer guy, plumber and hairdresser

This was supposed to be a post about how serene I am after a weekend retreat at a Jesuit monastery. Instead, it’s about how I arrived home to a malware attack, evidence of a clandestine teen party, the hot water tap on our only bath/shower dying, my daughter losing her wallet on the bus… You get the picture.

Had I not spent a weekend in pastoral tranquility my reaction would have been much worse. The rationale part of my brain could have shut down, my eye lids could have twitched wildly and I could have resorted to emptying the cookie jar into my stomach while yelling at my kids.

Instead I stood up to the evil claims of Alpha Antivirus, which insisted my computer was under a trojan assault that could be defeated only by purchasing this misnamed software.

I ran trusty old Norton through my computer, thinking it would identify and fix the problem. Not at all. At least my suspicions about the malware were confirmed. Sadly, my computer continued to cry out in pain, with frequent crashes, surprise setting changes and more.

Unfortunately, my computer guy Antonio does not work Mondays so I decided to tackle the problem myself. I did not consider going elsewhere because good computer guys, like hairdressers and plumbers, deserve absolute loyalty.

I tried two programs, that helped but didn’t solve the problem. So I’ve switched computers and plan to take the sick one to Antonio later.

I know I’m in good hands. In addition to fixing the problem, he will give me some free advice on preventing a recurrence and chat about his mother in Peru.

I had called my plumber, but he wasn’t available till next week. I have been very loyal ever since he replaced my leaking toilet tank with a gently used one (aqua, not easy to find) after I had burst into tears when I was going through a painful divorce made worse by vulture lawyers draining my finances.

Fortunately, the kind plumber recommended another plumber, so I didn’t feel I was cheating.

My horoscope had told me I was in for major expenses today, so I was braced for the worst, the need to lavishly renovate both bathrooms and not bathe until sometime in 2010. What a relief.

The repair was quick and reasonable and the sweat from yesterday’s workout has finally been scraped off.

The tides had started to turn earlier, with my daughter no longer in tears about the lost wallet when she got up this morning. After belting out I Will Survive, she had segued into some cheery popular tunes. I should explain that she’s at a performing arts school so our home often looks like the stage of a broadway musical.

I expect her wallet will turn up at the transit lost and found, probably with no money but with her transit pass and health insurance card. When she gets home with the news, we will burst into a nicely harmonized duet.

Or maybe not. I still have to figure out how to prevent unsupervised parties and too-frequent losses of valuables.

Thanks to reality, I’m not in a serene state of mind. I feel like George’s father on Seinfeld, yelling “Serenity now,” as if stress can be commanded to leave any more than a quick free download is going to fix my computer or the bandaid solution a contractor had made to my tap during one of my endless renovations would keep it functioning forever.

With my hair now air drying after that luxurious shower, I’m remembering that I’m due for a cut and highlights. Hope my stylist isn’t booked up. I really can’t go anywhere else, without feeling guilty about the times he’s squeezed me in or made me feel good when I think I look old and fluffy, as I like to call it.

Which brings me to today’s lesson. Like my computer guy, plumber and hairdresser, I need to do great work for my clients. But, I also need to throw in a few favors, ask about each their families and make them feel good about themselves.

Follow their examples and your customers will not stray. They’ll know they can count on you, even when they are pulling out their hair screaming “Serenity now!”


One Response

  1. My cousin would fall in love this post. We were not too long ago discussing about this. hehe

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