A Story of a Business Owner Answering the Phone.

If you’ve read my book Above the Fray or read any of the stories on my website or attended one of my speaking engagements, you’ve heard me talk about how focusing on the customer and applying seemingly rudimentary customer service practices can distance your business from the competition.

Here is a perfect example of just that.

A close friend of mine was searching desperately for some wine he and some associates enjoyed while vacationing in France last year. My friend lives in Louisville, KY and couldn’t find any bottles of the desired brand in our area so he reached out to my daughter, JoAnna (who in the wine business) to see if she could help him find this wine. The name of the wine is ‘Chateau Tour des Gendres 2008 Bergerac Rouge “Les Gendres,” which, quite frankly means nothing to yours truly as I am a wine idiot.”

After doing some digging, JoAnna was able to find the wine at a place called Integrity Wines in Atlanta, GA.  JoAnna provided me with the phone number so I called to inquire.

I call the number given and this is how our conversation went.

“Hello, this is Doug.”

“I’m sorry, Doug. I must have the wrong number. I was looking for Integrity Wines.”

Who answers the phone anymore if they don’t recognize the number these days? 

Doug says, “Yes, I am the owner of Integrity Wines.”

After I pick myself up off the floor and take a few breaths to prevent hyperventilation, I explain how I got his contact information and tell him what I’m looking for.

He is pleased with the referral and it turns out he has the wine in stock!  Then the impossible happens—Doug says, “If you send me an email I will get this taken care of”.

After Doug provides his email address, he said,  “this might take a few days.  I’m currently driving in the French countryside and its raining cats and dogs!”

Mind Blown.

Who would believe it?  The owner of a business answering the phone and talking to a customer.  Just when the founders of voicemail have extended that recording after the personal recording 2 extra minutes, just when the authors of voicemail have successfully imbedded non-answering of the phone by business owners and managers into the United States Constitution, and just when 45-minute holds have become the norm, a business owner answers the phone!  On a different continent. On his cell phone. In the middle of a rainstorm!

There you have it. Just the way business is supposed to, and used to, work; courteous people helping each other. Not being annoyed with a phone call but seeing the phone call as an opportunity.  AND, Doug answered the phone in France where most AT&T, Sprint and Mobile One users would have a heart attack from the forthcoming charges—certain to be more than the ‘special’ plan for the trip.

Not only does Doug have a customer for life in my friend, but who do you think my friend is going to contact the next time he’s looking for a special bottle of wine.  Better yet, who do you think my buddy is going to refer his friends to the next time they’re searching for wine that’s not sold in their location?

Voice Mail Police: 0

Doug at Integrity wines 1 (and…..many dollars, probably enough to pay the phone bill)

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