Saving Private Rabbit

Written by guest blogger Jack Sumrall, Sales, PhaseWare, Inc.


Remember the urban legend about the two women that lived next door to each other?  They were both married with families, they both worked and they were close friends.  One had a German Shepherd as a pet and the other had a rabbit.  Klaus was the German Shepherd and Private was the rabbit’s name.  Both pets lived in their respective backyards and the woman with Klaus was secretly afraid that her dog would harm the rabbit at some point.  She knew this would hurt her friendship with her neighbor as everyone loved the fluffy, cuddly hare.  Her fears were realized one day when she arrived home to see the Klaus romping around the yard with the lifeless, limp Private in its mouth.   She noticed that no one was home next door and thinking quickly, she retrieved the rabbit from the dog – scolding him severely, if rather briefly.   The rabbit was covered with dirt and dog saliva.  She ran inside to the kitchen sink and washed the rabbit in warm sudsy water, then toweled off all of the excess water.  Taking the clean, but damp, scraggly carcass she rushed to the bathroom and with brush, comb and hair dryer, vigorously worked the rabbit’s coat to a fluffy, white sheen.  Sprinting back through the house, she considered a few dryer tumbles on Delicate, but decided she couldn’t afford the time.  Cracking the blinds, she peeked next door and saw no activity.  Quickly, quietly she eased through her neighbor’s gate, looked around, walked nonchalantly to the little rabbit hutch and placed the impeccably coiffured hare in a restive pose.   Before sneaking away, she admired her work – “I could have been a beautician”, she thought – “or, a mortician”, as her conscience weighed in.  Safely home, she caught her breath, cleaned up her mess and started supper for the family, trying to act normal.  A short while later she heard a commotion in the neighbor’s backyard.  The neighbor and her children were gathered around the rabbit hutch and were obviously distraught.   Rushing out to add her condolences, she reached the sad scene and asked demurely, “Did Private die?”

“Yes…yes, he died yesterday,” the neighbor cried.  “We buried him next to the fence…and….and, now he’s back in his house,” the neighbor whimpered, “…looking better than when he died!”

We, in customer service, have the same opportunity to impress (and surprise) our customers.  And, we can go even further – we can bring the rabbit back to life.  We can take the deadest, dirtiest, down and buried problems and respond with cleaned-up, combed-out, blown dried solutions that get the customer rolling again.  And, if we do it professionally, quickly and with a personal touch – we’ll have a lifelong relationship with our neighbor…I mean customer.

We all know that a (pleasantly) surprised customer is a valuable asset.  A European car manufacturer validated this fact with an extensive study in the ‘90s.  They examined the buying tendencies of customers that had owned their cars.  Their findings were very interesting. 

  • If a car owner had experienced no problems with their car, they would purchase from the same manufacturer 83% of the time.
  • If a car owner had experienced problems and was not satisfied with the service, they would purchase from the same manufacturer 45% of the time.
  • However, if a car owner had experienced problems with their car and was satisfied with the service, they would purchase from the same manufacturer 92% of the time. That’s twice as likely as the car owner that was not satisfied with their service (no surprise), but it is over 10% more likely than the car owner that had no problems (surprise).

Good service is a surprise.  Surprise your customers!

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