I’ve been going to the same gym, on average, 4 to 5 times a week, for the past two years. I recognize most of the regulars and the staff that works there. I’ll usually say hello or share a quick smile as I head past the various desks, and today was like no other. However, when I got to the main desk, I found that I’d forgot my membership card. Ordinarily, this is no big deal – all you have to do is tell one of the Customer Service Reps your phone number, they type it into the computer and off you go. There were 3 people working at the desk, so I approached the one at the main computer and explained my situation. I got a deep sigh and an ice cold voice in response. As the computer beeped and the gate opened to let me in, she asked if I’d left my card at home or if it was somewhere else – what did this matter? I had said I’d forgot it, but provided the alternative, acceptable method of identification. I smiled and said yes, but she continued on, saying that I’d better make sure I brought it tomorrow if I wanted to get in.
I was shocked. Apparently my asking this Customer Service Representative to provide me with 10 seconds of service was too much to ask for. I clearly deserved to be admonished for my insensitivity. I don’t know if she was having a bad day, or if the gym has decided to phase out the phone number method of entry for those that forgot their card, but either way, she had gone about it in a completely wrong way. I bit my tongue and carried on.
It made me think of just a few days ago, when I was having an absolutely horrible day. At about 9 o’clock, a client started texting me, saying she couldn’t access her email. I texted her a few times to help, but she couldn’t get it to work. Now, at this point, I was already done with the day. All I wanted to do was unplug from the world and shut down for the night. 9pm is well past our standard office hours, and the email situation wasn’t really urgent as she hadn’t started using her new email address yet. I texted a few times more in response, but she couldn’t get anything to work.
“You’ll be amazed at the difference you will make.”
It took me about one second to realize this would take me under 5 minutes to help, and would probably mean a lot to her. I told my bad mood to take a hike and gave her a call. I walked her through the steps again, and everything worked out. She was incredibly grateful and happy, and felt relieved that her email was working. She felt comforted knowing that I was there to help her out, even at 9pm.
I hung up the phone and smiled, just a little bit. I was still in a bad mood, but I’d made someone else’s night and was able to help. She didn’t know I was in a bad mood, and she didn’t need to.
That’s what business is about though; that’s what life should be about. Sometimes we need to take a step back from ourselves and realize that our brief interactions with other people can affect them more than we know. My trip to the gym was 10 hours ago and I’m still thinking about it. Imagine how you can affect the people close to you with only a few words, or the slightest action.
You’re more powerful than you realize – choose your mood, and choose how you deal with others. You’ll be amazed at the difference you will make.