Harold, A Purple Crayon, and Customer Service

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘the customer is always right.’ It doesn’t seem to matter what line of work you find yourself in, when it comes to service, ‘the customer is always right.’ Down the road, in my career, I heard another mantra and it was, ‘the answer is yes; now what is the question?’ The premise of this mantra is the same as the first: i.e. great customer service.

I often try to find new ways to explain great customer service to my clients, students, and industry peers. There are many customer service gurus who suggest daily reminders or cheery pep talks but while sitting with my son one night I discovered a new way to illuminate customer service. It all started with Harold and the Purple Crayon.

As I put my son to bed that night he asked me to read him a story about a young boy named Harold. Harold is a vivacious little guy, who instead of going to sleep decides to embark on a wondrous adventure with his purple crayon. I do try to balance work and home but that night I could not help but think of my company as I read about Harold. Using his crayon, and imagination, Harold draws himself into a journey in which he becomes lost yet finally locates the moon which helped guide him back to his bedroom. Like Harold, many companies find themselves on a journey and sometimes lost in difficult situations. Harold uses awareness and creativity to navigate his quest. He is in full control of his direction but like many good companies, sometimes he has to suddenly adjust and navigate through a challenging moment like falling off a mountain. Even still, he creates opportunities for himself such as drawing a balloon to bring him to safety or drawing an assortment of pies, so he may have a picnic.

As I read, I noticed in many ways, this story directly reflects the journey of most businesses. There are times when companies need to be creative to overcome difficult situations and being aware of market changes is vital to surviving. As well, a good company does not wait for opportunities, but like Harold creates them. The most important message found in the story was that companies must follow their clients the way Harold followed the moon.

Every day I overcome challenges and create opportunities, but without our clients guiding us I have no mission and no way of framing my goals. Every company should acknowledge that the client is the centre and sole purpose of a business’s existence.

At Burlodge we are motivated to help others. I look for staff who are passionate and are driven by opportunities to do so. Our clients are food service managers and line staff however, we believe their patients are just as important. When we build and create, we are motivated to make a positive difference to everyone’s lives. Providing great customer service is extremely rewarding and should be the guiding light for all companies through their adventures.