Monday, November 18, 2013

Impossible perfection

Do people really learn from their mistakes? Do they avoid making the same one more than once?

It depends entirely on how much fun they had making them the first time.

I quit making mistakes I enjoyed enough to repeat more than 30 years ago. Now I really try to use them to keep from stepping in the same pile again.

Unfortunately, in the service business a customer will run into people who either don't or can't avoid the pile. Some businesses posing as service providers even make the pile so they can clean it up. So mistakes can create bad impressions in suspicious minds. All you can do is work tighter and tighter -- while remaining coolly relaxed, of course.

At a time of year when business is slow anyway, which happens to coincide with a time when The Business already has been crawling on its bloody knees from day to day, you notice the ones who used to come around who gave up after that one screwup. Forget the complete refund they got, still bleeding red ink onto the company ledgers. Forget that there was no attempt to evade or deny. I am now branded as incompetent.

A shop's business is only as good as its credibility. How many customers disappear because one rider had a problem and blackballed us to the whole club? How many people decide we acted out of incorrigible dishonesty or ineptitude?

I don't always radiate a lot of warmth. I'll admit that. Maybe that's the mistake I like to make too much to avoid repeating. But I guarantee I will make every effort to avoid screwing up the work I do for customers and friends depending on me. And whenever I fail, rest assured that it will bug me forever. I wish that kept me from making new mistakes, but that's just the dang human condition.

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