Have you seen the lists on the Internet and various publications touting what is disappearing in America? They’re sort of fun and sort of sad in the sense that some wonderful things are going away or are already gone forever.
I am going to miss wristwatches with second hands. And I rarely get a handwritten note anymore – somehow an email just can't compare. I don't like the fact that newspapers are going away; I know all that information is on the Web, but I like holding and reading an actual paper.
Some other things that are going away are just fine, like indoor smoking and dial-up Internet. I can’t say that I really miss typewriters or pay phones either. And I was never really a ham radio guy.
Technology has created a ton of efficiency, and casualties, too. I like the convenience of automatic teller machines, but I do miss the friendly people I used to chat with in the bank. I love my smartphone, but there are times when it should be shut off.
Many of these lists tell us that customer service is disappearing, and in general that's true. This is the era of self-checkout, drive-through coffee, automated answering services and mobile applications for your phone. It’s all designed to save time and make us more efficient so we can pack more into our day – so that we can do what, exactly?
Great customer service has become a rarity – with a few noteworthy exceptions. The Ritz-Carlton has a mantra that perfectly describes their commitment to their customers: “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” I love that.
And in real estate, taking care of our customers is at the core of our business. In fact, we're actually in the relationship business. The "How-can-I-help-you?" business. The "What-can-I-do-to-make-your-life-easier?" business.
Many things we used to count on seem to be gone or going away. So I feel especially lucky to work in a business that prides itself on spending more time with its customers, imparting more knowledge to its customers, and working much harder than ever before to personally help our customers. That will never go away at Windermere.