Time for another story…
One job that we had was particularly memorable for me. A Milwaukee attorney had hired us to assist with his move from a 4500 sq foot residence, into a 2000 sq ft one. Both units were already fully furnished, but his plan was to move all of his dishes and furniture into his new place and THEN decide after which things would go into storage. I offered to make a floor plan, but he declined. He was used to doing things HIS way.
The day of the move arrived, the movers showed up at noon but my crew and I had already been there for a couple of hours with coffee and donuts, waiting across the street. We walked up to the door and were greeted by the client who asked me to leave the crew outside while I came in to talk to him first. I did as he asked, and when we were inside he told me that I had brought too many crew members (we had 5-6) and to send half of them home and not to worry, he would pay for them for my mistake! I’m sure my crew heard the conversation through the glass door.
After deciding who would stay and who would go, the “survivors” went up the elevator to the second floor. About two hours into the job, the client asked me how many crew I had scheduled for the next day and I told him that I had the same amount as I had that day.
“That’s good”, he replied. He then asked me what time the art installer was coming the next day. When I replied “10 a.m., as you requested” he said, “we will probably need to change that.” He took some time deciding on a time; “noon, 1:00, no actually, change that to 3:00 pm tomorrow..that will be good.”
He had no idea that the art installer had already flown in early just for this job and that he would now have to change his whole schedule to adjust to the client’s. I had to make the difficult call and explain this. (The art installer was able to adjust their schedule to accommodate my client. I was so grateful for that and it taught me to always be grateful to the people who help your business and you should always look for a way to help them back!)
As the day went along, the client decided that he wanted to help. He told me that he was going to unpack the lamps himself. We went along with our own jobs, as he unpacked the lamps until we heard him yell, “how in the hell am I supposed to know what shade goes with what lamp?!”
I answer, “that’s easy, I took photos of all the lamps.” He could now easily put the right shade together with the right lamp.
Suddenly, a few minutes later he slapped his forehead in disbelief and said, “I threw all of the finials in the garbage!” I responded with “don’t worry, it’s no problem, we will find them”, as I quickly sent some crew to go and dig through about 20 garbage bags of packing materials to find them. They finally located them in the master bedroom of his former home.
At that point, I could tell he was finally softening up to me and was starting to finally realize that maybe I knew what I was doing. I then asked him “where is that floor lamp that you used to have next to the white chair?” He looked at me in disbelief and said, “you actually remember where my floor lamp was in the last place? You were only there ONE TIME!” I replied, “Yes, I have a very visual memory!”
Turns out, he didn’t know where that floor lamp was, so I offered to call the movers and find out if it was put into storage. They found it, and I had them deliver it to his new residence. When it arrived, I noticed some damage on the base and shade, so I asked the client if I could take it to the repair shop that I personally use, and have it repaired for him. “You’d do that for me?!” he asked. Of course I would! And I did!
The last and final day went smoothly and the work did not take long. Unfortunately, his wife wasn’t feeling well. As a final touch, I unpacked her favorite candy and put it on her nightstand in a dish. (The only reason I knew what her favorite candy was, was because she had told me a story about it while I was editing their old home, a few days previous to that).
When we were finally wrapping up, the client asked me to come to the center of the room. With tears in his eyes he said, “you are an excellent leader and you have a wonderful team!” We then hugged. After that, he said two more things. “I noticed that you admired my art, would you like to have this small sculpture?” He also told me, “if you ever need a reference, I will be more than happy to give one!” I thanked him for both things and left with tears in my own eyes. When I got home, his reference was already on my computer!
I received another call from him that next Monday! He loudly proclaimed over the phone, “my maid can’t get my dishwasher to work and all I want to do is get the damn thing running so I can go to work!” Luckily, I knew that a LifeMoves crew member was already in his area, so I quickly called her to see if she could stop in and check his dishwasher. She was able to meet his wife and the maid at the new house and they worked together to figure out why it didn’t work. When they couldn’t get it to start, the crew member called me and we scheduled a serviceman to come out and fix it. A little while after my crew member left, he called me back saying that he never checked the breaker box! He had checked the circuit, pushed the switch and the dishwasher was working again! I told him that I would call and cancel the serviceman for him. He was very grateful!
I can’t begin to tell you how happy it made me to help this couple. They were both in their mid-80’s, struggling with what might have been their last move and needed a lot of help. As Maya Angelou once said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Well, that turned out to be the truth!
I always felt like these clients would make a cocktail story out of this episode, and they did! One day, I got a call from a potential client. After a brief conversation, I asked him how he and his wife heard about LifeMoves. Sure enough, it was from hearing about us through this lovely couple! One act of kindness is more valuable than any marketing brochure!