I don’t usually post personal anecdotes on this blog, but I thought that this one was worth a mention; it’s cold and drizzling here in Colorado right now and this story really gave me a lift to end the week!
Last Sunday I got a phone call and e-mail from an individual client for whom I had translated a batch of official documents a few months ago. He was calling with a rush request to translate an additional document and have the whole batch certified. At the time, I actually thought about declining the job and referring the client to someone in his local area (he lives in a different part of the country from me) because it was an ultra-rush and involved FedExing him the hard copies of the translation and the certification so that he could renew his visa. However I did accept the job. Because my daughter’s school was closed at the beginning of this week (in-service days, not the swine flu…), the rushing, certifying and FedExing were especially laborious and involved bringing my daughter with me to get the notary’s stamp on our way to the indoor water park with some friends, just the kind of rush job I normally try to avoid! In addition, because I knew that this translation was an important one, I did the extra step of sending the client the tracking number and then tracking the package myself to make sure that it was securely on its way.
Anyway, everything worked out and the FedExed translation arrived in the nick of time for the client’s visa renewal. Yesterday, I received an effusive thank you e-mail from him; the kind of note that makes your day in and of itself. Then at the bottom of the note, the client said that the fancy wine shop in my town would be dropping by with a package, which they did yesterday evening, and I’m now the proud owner of a great bottle of real champagne and a very, very nice Bordeaux.
When you’re in the professional service business as all of us are, I think it’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that no one notices what you do until you make a mistake, or that clients are so used to “above and beyond” service that nothing makes an impression. This story proved to me that when you do a good job and go the extra kilometer, people really do notice and appreciate it.