I learned my first lesson in professionalism and customer service from my dad. Working for Coca-Cola USA as a sales rep, then manager, he frequently received phone calls from his co-workers and customers at home. I learned early on to answer a phone in a professional way, as opposed to a silly way. Those were the days of "person-to-person" and "station-to-station" calls. I learned to recognize a long distance call by the hiss on the line before the operator´s voice would come on. "Person to person call for Mr. Maury Ross," she would say. (It was always a "she.") Frequently, the operator would mispronounce Dad´s name as "Murray." You also wouldn´t believe how many different ways an operator could pronounce "Ross," either.Monday, July 10th is my dad´s 83rd birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad!
Observing Dad, I also learned the importance of building relationships with those whom I do business. Years after he had been promoted out of a territory, Coke bottlers there would still call him if they couldn´t get a satisfactory answer from their current rep. I also recall him working the phones when one of his co-worker´s positions would be "restructured" trying to find him a job with one of the bottlers. And for many years even after he left Texas, every Christmas he received a case of Rio Grande Valley grapefruit from the bottler down there. I learned that to be successful, you had to build and nurture relationships with customers, co-workers, and others.
But most importantly, from day one he and my mom (Hi Mom!) taught me right from wrong. (Of course this sometimes backfired during my teenage years, as I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was right and they were wrong:-) Today I´m in the process of implementing the relationship management practices of CRM in my company and the foundation of those practices is ethical behavior.
Another thing I learned from Dad was to keep my commitments. I also learned this wasn´t easy, but that was a lesson I had to learn for myself.
Professionalism. Ethics. Commitment. I use those lessons every day.
Thanks, Dad. Happy Birthday! I love you.