This week I experienced a personal heartbreak. It was during that time that I was once again reminded what truly sets someone (and their business) apart. It has nothing to do with flashy stuff, extra letters after your name, or a snappy elevator pitch. It is all about having heart, caring about the little things, and showing up to serve as a real, authentic, and caring human being.
Our beloved cat Copper who was 16 had been experiencing old age kidney decline for the last 18 months, the last 3 of them being a high-maintenance, roller-coaster ride of giving her subcutaneous fluids and medication at home. Any cat lover knows just how much fun giving a cat an IV and pills is, so you can imagine the stress of this time. She was a total trooper and such a good, sweet kitty the whole way for which we were grateful.
That is why it was so heartbreaking to have to put her down this week. As I reflect on this experience, I was reminded how blessed I am to have so many of the service providers in my life be such top notch.
There are probably at least 5 veterinarians within a 4 mile radius of my house. Yet the one I have used through my years in this town far surpasses what it means to be of service. It’s like a lesson in customer service and differentiating yourself from the competition every time I meet with them (and this includes not just the doctors but the extended staff). And, it has nothing to do with a sales pitch.
In just this 3 month period the good people at Telford Veterinary Hospital have:
- Guided us wisely through the almost constant ups and downs of kidney failure and bladder infections.
- Saved us untold upset by recommending one of their vet technicians to care for our cat and her medical needs when we had to travel for personal or business. (She went above and beyond and then some for us… I love this woman!)
- Treated our cat and equally important us (the humans/owners part of the equation) with nothing but the most personal and compassionate care and communication.
- Regularly followed up with us via phone and accommodated last minute appointment needs as the situation warranted.
You might think – well that’s just part of running a business, right?
How many businesses or people actually DO what they say?
How many people take the time from their hectic and busy schedules to care and take time to communicate and truly listen to your concerns?
Not very many…
When we called late in the evening with the dreaded circumstance that we needed to bring her in for the final time because she was too weak to walk and was starting to experience discomfort, they listened and went the extra mile. They didn’t just “fit us it” at the end of their busy day. They took the time to truly be present with us, with Copper, and give us the space to say goodbye. We were fortunate to have the vet tech who was caring for her be there as well. (Apparently that sweet kitty of ours stole her heart in this short time too!) We were never rushed. Everyone made sure all our needs were met (human and feline). The doctor even took the time to get on the floor so she could be eye to eye with Copper, say goodbye and do what was necessary in a very kind, un-clinical yet very professional way.
Nobody there HAS to do any of this of course. It’s a busy medical practice who made an appointment at closing time for us. Yet this is what sets them apart. This is what drew us to their practice in the first place 10+ years ago and has us continue to be raving fans. I look forward to a future day when I can visit them again under happier conditions (say, with a handful of kittens in tow).
So, it’s the little things that matter. THAT is your personal brand. THAT is your differentiator in the marketplace. THAT is where you have the biggest impact with the work you d in the world and by doing it in a way that is uniquely you.
So, what is one thing that you have let slide because you’ve been too busy “doing business” to take the time to do? Imagine how things might be different and who you might touch if you took the time to do the little things?
They really DO matter.
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