I’m always looking for inspiration and I often find it in my kids. Recently my 13-year-old daughter randomly asked me who I thought was the “best” person I knew. My immediate reaction was to name all the people in my life who I’ve admired for their various virtues. Then she asked me, “But are those the people you want to spend the most time with? Are they the ones who make you feel the best?” The answer was no. My favorite people are a bag of mixed nuts with a delicious assortment of flaws and quirks. It got me thinking about what it actually means to be the “best” person.
I also find inspiration in quotes, and this particular line of thinking made me recall a favorite by Maya Angelou that says, “’People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It’s so true. The measure of a person comes down to more than the sum of their words and actions.
With these thoughts in mind, I’ve been trying to be more conscious of how my own words and actions make others feel, and I’ve paid closer attention to what other people say and do and how it affects me. It’s been an interesting lesson.
This has applications in business too. In the rental industry, we spend a lot of time thinking about equipment, profits, rates and utilization, yet nearly everyone will say customer service is what sets their business apart. But does it really? Have you considered what it would take to make your customers enjoy doing business with you? What would put them at ease? What would make them want to come back? It’s not as simple as on-time delivery and 24-hour response, although those things are vitally important. I’ll go out on a limb and say things like warmth, friendliness and cooperation play a major role too. I guess what I’m saying is being the “best” is more than your rates, fleet and service, it’s got to do with whether people want to work with you. I think it’s worth asking, what would it take to get you to want to do business with you? The answers might surprise you.