Compliments sometimes come at the most random of times from the most unexpected places. Recently I was on the phone with a customer. Truth be told the customer is upset with Logo Chair. We have made some mistakes in our business partnership over the last two years. We have owned them and in my humble opinion made right on the errors. The reason for this current phone call was to schedule a meeting face to face so I could recap our business partnership and hopefully learn all the things that Logo could do better in the future either for this current customer or for any customer in the future. During this call the buyer said the following in reference to my father who use to work for Logo, “Rik Talley is one of the best human beings I know. Aside for the fact that he was good with people, he genuinely cared about the customer and what we thought about the company.” Honestly, while typing this I am smiling. The customer is right. I have grown up watching this man be everything I want to be on this side of heaven. He is caring, nurturing, loving, warm hearted, funny, smart, quick witted, and great with people because above all else he is the definition of Character. His yes is his yes. His no is a no. He is honest even when the truth hurts and is hard to communicate.
I have grown up knowing that the shoes I would be asked to fill as the next “Talley” salesperson would be large and quite impossible to fill. Not only has my father always delivered results where ever he was worked as a salesperson, but he did it all the while changing people all around him and making friends. His father did much of the same. The stories go on for days from Elvis impersonations to pretending to be a stubborn janitor in order to break the ice for a sales meeting. My eyes have seen. My ears have heard. I have been emulating him since I can remember. Memorizing his walk, praying for his patience, hoping that the Lord blessed me with the same touch my father has always had... People light up when they here the name Rik Talley. Still today workers jump up from behind their desk when they here his voice in the office. Logo staff who didn't even work with him hurry out of their cubical to shake his hand. So to say the customer on the phone was right is an understatement.
So where am I going with this? In a conversation where so much of the what buyer said absolutely broke my heart (I hate letting customers down), there was a silver lining. Just several days before this call with the “upset customer” I had consecutive phone calls with another customer and a sales rep. Both of them mentioned Rik Talley. Both of them told me that they missed working with him. Both of them told me that they could see so much of my father in me. What? They did... They politely told me that they could see how my father rubbed off on his son. They compared working with me to working with my dad. This is like telling a quarterback he reminded you of Joe Montana. I was being told that one of the best I know, my hero, had rubbed off on me. Wow! What a compliment.
A compliment that in a conversation that wasn't the most positive, told me there is hope. The “Upset Customer” saw my dad for who he was and the effect he had on him. Even in the face of trials and business errors people can see the effort and character of people not just the overarching issue the discussion is about. I know while Rik was with logo there were service failures with the same account and here the same “Upset Customer” was overflowing with complements toward the sales person who handled his account.
Now I just hope one day the “Upset Customer”, whether he does business with us or not in the future, one day can say the same thing about me and the company I so passionately pour my heart into... That we were fair. That we were truthful. That we always did the right thing. That we were one of the best to work with during our business relationship. That when he sees me and our team at a trade show he lights up to walk over and shake our hands even without the intention of ever writing a purchase order with Logo Chair. That when he hears our companies name in conversation he has nothing but positive things to say about us and our whole crew.
*the image for this post is the cover for one of my favorite books written by a dear friend Byron Yawn.