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and life along the winding road

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Fred Factor

I was recently given the Fred Factor - a book by Mark Sanborn. It’s a book used as a training tool by a large local company. When Mark Sanborn first moved to a new area, Fred (a postal worker) introduced himself, asked if there was anything Mark needed, and proceeded to keep track of mail. When Mark was out of town, Fred “held” the mail until Mark’s return. He even picked up and delivered a UPS package which he found addressed to Mark, but delivered to the wrong address. We could all be a Fred.

For me, I try to think what my dad would have done. Sadly, he has been gone for over 25 years, but I remember his kindness to others. Then there was the movie Pay it Forward which was another reminder to help others where I can. One day I was at the Post Office when the price of stamps had increased. An older man was trying to figure out how to get a 1c stamp from the machine. Well, you can’t get a one cent stamp, it requires you to have a purchase of more than a dollar. I offered to make my purchases and include a one cent stamp. He then told me he needed 30! It only amounted to 30c but I could see the frustration leave the poor man’s face when I purchased, and handed him the stamps. When he tried to pay me I refused. It wasn’t much of a gift money wise, but I think the gesture was appreciated. I told him I was sure he would do the same for someone else which I’m sure he would – I could tell by his demeanor that he was a stand up guy. If someone helps me, I make a point of contacting their supervisor, and letting him or her know that I received exceptional service. This proved to be difficult when it was an IRS employee. Apparently, they don’t get much thanks and it took me an hour and several phone calls to get through to the person’s supervisor. I told him I was grateful that his employee took the time and trouble to get the error resolved. When I had to call the local police one night, they came out promptly and I was impressed how they handled the situation. I sent them a thank you card the next day. Another thing I try to do is ask people their names. When talking to a person in customer service I like to end the conversation with thanking them by name.

The Fred Factor can be a good tool for a company if the company is interested in having passionate employees in their workplace. Unfortunately many employers do not value their employees and with little reward, thanks or added compensation, moral can dip quicker than a roller coaster. Regardless, if you are in the workplace or meet people briefly, treat people as if they are valuable, because they are. And ask yourself, are you a Fred?


K9friend said...

Excellent advice! Taking a bit of extra time to be kind can make someone who may be having a terrible day feel wonderful. And couldn't we all use some TLC?


Joanne said...

Too true - companies often take for granted the littlest things that could make an employee want to step up to the plate and hit home runs. Deep down folks want to be Fred, but too often morale is kicked and they say, "The heck with it." Good post. We've all been there!

Tiffany Norris said...

This sounds great! Our dog's name is Fred, so I've been curious about the book. Now I have two reasons to check it out. :)