At Your Service by Maggie Inge

At Your Service: June 24, 2009

She rises early, a little earlier each day than she used to. There was a time when she would send up an occasional prayer in times of trouble. Now it has become routine as she gives thanks for what the day will bring, extending her day by precious minutes. Let this day be better than yesterday.

At Your Service: June 10, 2009

Service is always about attention to the needs of the customer. It is a lesson we must learn again and again if we are to remain in the business of serving people. One of the reasons we can never consider it “a lesson learned” is because each and every customer is unique.

At Your Service: June 3, 2009

Scratch the surface of almost any successful venture and you will find someone with a passion for a critical aspect of the business. There is usually a direct link that connects, say, a love of vehicles to an auto repair shop. Sometimes it is more indirect, as when someone who really loves to sell things makes a go of it selling a particular product. It is this passion that drives the business through the tough times and makes palpable the 1,001 mundane tasks that are also necessary to the creation of any success.

At Your Service: May 27, 2009

The economy is on everyone’s lips these days; the number two conversation starter is some form of the privacy/security question. They are subjects that have large-scale ramifications for the nation and world. Closer to home, they can impact our lives in little but important ways.

At Your Service: April 29, 2009

There are times when the best thing that we can do is a far, far cry from our personal best. That is because despite our efforts to always make the right decision we are sometimes reduced to simply making the decision right. Few of us have the savvy to recognize mistakes as we make them; mistakes are more often revealed by circumstance or the people they impacted. Mistakes brought to our attention by others usually fall into the category known colloquially as “whoppers.”

At Your Service: April 22, 2009

At 8 on Monday evenings my computer’s security system runs a scan to identify and then quarantine viruses, worms, Trojan horses and other nefarious software programs. The entire operation takes about an hour. It is exactly what I programmed it to do when it was new, like the computer before it and the one before that. Nonetheless, I am regularly taken aback at about 8:15 most Mondays when I go to check my e-mail and find it running.

At Your Service: April 15, 2009

The first time we make an error, it is simply a mistake. The second time it is a big mistake and we comment, “I should have known better.” The third time we are developing a pattern, soon to be a habit that can only be broken with great effort. The potential to catch mistakes before they become bad habits is the primary value of assessing past performance.

At Your Service: April 1, 2009

Last fall I cited as an example a business owner, call him Roger, for his customer-centric approach to problem-solving. This week I learned that Roger is not the owner of his business. When I played back our conversation in my mind I realized that he had never said that he was the owner – what was remarkable, even more so in retrospect, was his attitude.

At Your Service: March 25, 2009

She smiles – that is, the corners of her mouth rise and the lips part enough to reveal the edges of her teeth. The dark light in her eyes reveals that she is anything but happy and gives the smile the appearance of a sneer. “Welcome” falls from his lips like a tooth spat out at the end of a fight. It has been a long day and more people means it is likely he will have to stay open late.

At Your Service: March 18, 2009

Trust is a critical component of service and trust is in short supply these days. The issue of trust is completely revealed in our confrontation, as individuals and as a nation, with concerns relating to health care. It is in the domains of health care that the most intimate aspects of service are expressed; lives hang in the balance and the delicate underbelly is exposed. In no other arena are we required to trust with such abandon.

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