“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is the knack of getting along with people.”
As the owner of an independent watch-repair shop for many years, I would like to share some of my experiences with you, with the hope that you may find this information helpful in your business. To be the operator of a business, you must be a self-starter. When you get out of bed in the morning, you must have the attitude that this is going to be a good day. A positive attitude is very important to your wellbeing. Who wants to deal with a grump? I once heard that “a bad attitude is like a flat tire—you are not going very far until you fix it.”
One of my customers had a problem with her watch not running after it had been properly serviced. “Let me see your watch,” I said. I started to wind the watch and discovered it was run down. I gave it a full wind and returned it to her. In a few days she was back because it stopped again. I wound it and returned it to her with the explanation: “You must wind it for it to run.” She said, “I do wind it.” “How much do you wind it?” I asked. Her reply: “Maybe four or five turns.” “You must wind it till it stops,” I said. She said okay and left the store. In a few days she was back again with the same complaint. I said to myself, “You must have PATIENCE. Sometimes you will need a bushel of it.” This time I took the watch in with the explanation that I was going to keep it for a week to 10 days. I was going to put the watch in every position and let it run for 24 hours in each position. When she came back, I gave her the results of my run out. The watch kept good time and ran fine during the time I had it. I said, “You must wind it.” Her response was, “I’ll break the mainspring.” I replied, “Break the darn mainspring! I’ll give you a new one.” After that, there was no more problem with the watch, and she remained a good customer for several years.
There are several lessons in this story (which is a true story).
1. Do your best to satisfy your customer.
2. Have patience with any situation.
3. Keep a good attitude.
4. Always think on your feet and come up with a solution to the problem. For every problem there is a solution. Sometimes we have to do some digging to find it.
Satisfy your customer if you can. Does that mean the customer is always right? No, of course not. After you have tried every avenue to satisfy, there does come a point where you have to say that maybe it is best that we part company. This doesn’t happen often.
Practicing patience means that we try to put ourselves in their shoes. Look at the problem from their perspective; try to see it through their eyes. If you do find yourself losing it, excuse yourself, walk away, take a deep breath, and get a drink (of water). Come back to the customer and try to solve the problem. There are some situations where you can’t make them happy, and that is when it is best that you part company.
A positive attitude will serve you well. It keeps you thinking that you can overcome whatever obstacle is in you way. You feel better about yourself.
So remain positive.
Sometimes the solution will just come to you from who knows where. Sometimes you have to beak some mainsprings. (Change your way of thinking.) Here is a motto for small-business owners to live by: IF IT’S TO BE, IT’S UP TO ME.