Delivering the sunrise


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Wet WSJLast weekend I emailed the following complaint to the customer service department at The Wall Street Journal:

Our Wall Street Journal delivery person has a gutter mind. Let me explain.

Ever since we moved to our new address in January, with annoying frequency our morning paper is tossed in the gutter rather than our driveway. As you can see in the attached photo, the gutter fills with water in the early morning hours as homeowners water their lawns. The driveway, however, unless it rains, is bone dry.

My wife and I have been subscribers since 1996 in New York City when we had the Journal delivered to our apartment building on the Upper East Side. We used to divvy up the paper to read during our morning subway commutes. We’ve always looked forward to waking up to the Journal – especially the weekend WSJ Magazine insert – and reading its many informative/entertaining articles.

There was a beautiful sunrise this morning in Denver. It would have been a delicious morning to sit with the paper and a cup of steaming coffee on the deck while the sun rose but, alas, our delivery person, for perhaps the third time this week, has not thought to expend the discretionary effort needed to toss the paper beyond the gutter and onto our driveway.

Please instruct this individual to pull his mind out of the gutter and focus on the pleasure their customers will experience by reading a dry morning newspaper with a cup of steaming hot coffee as the sun rises to the east.

I had a little fun with this complaint. I’m not bitter, just disappointed. I know the delivery person could do better than to apathetically toss the paper into the wet gutter and drive on to complete his route. Beyond his daily mechanical job function, he must recognize the essence of his job – his highest priority at work.

His supervisor must convince him that, from his customer’s perspective, he’s not just delivering a bound clump of paper. He’s delivering the sunrise.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Curtin
Steve Curtin is the author of Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary. He wrote the book to address the following observation: While employees consistently execute mandatory job functions for which they are paid, they inconsistently demonstrate voluntary customer service behaviors for which there is little or no additional cost to their employers. After a 20-year career with Marriott International, Steve now devotes his time to speaking, consulting, and writing on the topic of extraordinary customer service.


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