What do you really own?

work tools

My old soldering iron died a few days ago so on Saturday I dropped into a major hardware chain to grab a new one. I got a great lesson in how not to do retail.

Once I had chosen a soldering iron I headed to the tool counter where there were three staff members chatting. The assistant on the customer side of the counter moved slightly, just enough to allow me to put my item on the counter, but continued chatting with the other two.

They kept their conversation going while the female assistant scanned my item without even acknowledging me. The only time she spoke to me was when I handed over my plastic card and she asked which account I wanted to use.

I can’t speak for everyone at the company concerned, and I’m sure they have plenty of dedicated staff members who provide excellent assistance, but for those three staff members it seemed more about going through the motions while waiting for pay day.

When a friend heard about my experience she told me about a similar experience at the same store which caused her to go across the road to a smaller retailer where prices where slightly higher. The other retailer couldn’t compete on price but they cared enough to give good advice and great customer service. It’s not hard to understand why they made the sale that day.

What’s going on?

These incidents got me thinking. I reckon the small retailer in my friend’s story did the right thing because they owned the business. They weren’t just waiting for pay day. In fact, if they didn’t do the right thing, there would be no pay day. Owning a business means that you rise and fall with the successes and failures of the business. If the customers stop walking through the door you can’t just go get another job.

Also, if you own a business you usually work in an area of interest or even passion. Someone with a love for food is unlikely to buy a gardening business. They’re more likely to start a restaurant or buy a cafe. It follows that the business is less likely to feel like a drudgery to the owner because they’re doing something that creates a real spark for them.

Ownership changes everything.

Obviously it’s not practical to have every business only staffed by business owners but it is possible to build a sense of ownership amongst employees. It might be a different kind of ownership but ownership does change everything.

I don’t own the radio station where I work but I have a strong sense of ownership. I own the vision and the values of my workplace. I truly believe in what we’re doing and I believe that I’m playing a vital part in furthering our purposes as a radio station.

That ownership extends to a wide range of areas. It means that I’m constantly aware of the fact that I represent the station at all times, not just when I’m at work. I don’t want the radio station’s reputation to suffer, therefore, if it’s under my control, I won’t do anything that would see that happen.

If the time ever comes to move on to a new job you can be sure that it’ll be to something that I can feel passionate about; something that gives me that sense of ownership.

What do you own?

Ownership isn’t just restricted to work. I have a sense of ownership for a range of things in which I’m involved.

How about you? Do you own your job or is it just a way to fund your life? Do you have other interests and involvements that create a sense of ownership for you?

Post Script: I was asked to forward details of the hardware store incident to the chain which I did yesterday. The manager of the hardware store concerned has phoned me to say that she is investigating what went on over the weekend. She has reviewed CCTV footage which backs up my explanation of events and she is not happy. She has promised to get back in touch with me once her investigation is complete and she has spoken to all involved.

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Is social media here to stay?

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Great service turns customers into raving fans

How long has it been since you were surprised by service at a shop or business?

I wonder why so many shops and businesses can’t get their head around the idea that if they offer great service, their business is likely to grow, even in these difficult financial times.

On Monday one of the gear cables on my bike had snapped inside the shifter. They don’t often break like that but when they do it’s a very tricky job to get the broken end of the cable out so that you can replace them. The break happened just before I got to work and I didn’t fancy riding all the way home in one gear.

I went down to Bikeforce South Perth in my lunch break and the owner, Nick, told me that it was going to be very difficult to get it sorted. The shop was very busy and they’ve got service work piled up for days so he could have just said that he couldn’t help at all, but Nick still took time out to get the job done. He just continued to work the broken end free, millimetre by millimetre. Eventually there was enough frayed cable to grab with needle nose pliers and Nick was able to remove the broken piece of cable. He then quickly threaded a new cable, adjusted the rear derailleur, and charged me what was an extremely fair price compared to the degree of difficulty of the job.

I couldn’t thank him enough.

It’s so refreshing to find people who are willing to go the extra mile and I must say it was nice to ride home on a fully functional bike.

When was the last time you got service that was so good you wanted to tell others about it? What is your best service story?

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Book Give Away


I’ve got four books to give away to readers of RodneyOlsen.net. They’re all in brand new condition and have never been read.

So you have a great idea for a business…: Now what? by Justin Herald. So, you’ve got a great idea for a business, and you’ve plucked up the courage to take the plunge. But unless you prepare yourself properly for the journey you’re about to embark on your great idea may lead to some unpleasant surprises.

On the Side of the Angels by John Smith. Rev Dr John Smith is the founding Director of Concern Australia and the founding President of God’s Squad Christian Motorcycle Club of 34 years. An elder of the radical discipleship movement, he is a defender of the poor, an ethics consultant to corporate Australia, a prominent social commentator and a blues lover.

Alien Intrusion by Gary Bates. Are there really alien civilizations in our vast universe? In Alien Intrusion, Gary Bates gives a thorough treatment of this fascinating subject. What is behind the numerous sightings from around the world? Does the U.S. Government have evidence of alien craft? Can we hope to mkae contact in our lifetime?

Waking the Dead by John Eldridge. Eldredge, who helped to redefine the Christian men’s movement with Wild at Heart, broadens his scope to offer this more general spirituality title on being “fully alive.” Such a state of total animation is achieved only when Christians can integrate all four “streams” of their lives: discipleship, counseling, healing and warfare.

If you want one of the books all you need to do is leave a comment below this post telling me which book you’d prefer. If you’re the first to ask for that particular book it’s yours.

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