March 17, 2009
What People Notice Most
“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?”
1 Peter 3:13 (NIV)
My husband and I run an online store from home. On any given day, you’ll find me wrapping file folders in bubble wrap or typing up a shipping label. I’m a stickler for customer service because I know the woman ordering online needs someone on the other end of the computer making sure she has a high quality product.
Even with the utmost care, every once in a while we make a mistake (like shipping the wrong product) or we overlook a small flaw. Such was the case with the woman who ordered a white wire bathroom shelf. When she opened it, apparently a small section was damaged. We must have missed it, otherwise we would never had shipped it. She called me and asked what she should do about it. I told her we'd ship a second one out to her immediately and not to worry about returning that one. If we didn't have another one in stock, I would credit her account.
The next morning she called and left a message saying the damage was so small that her husband was able to fix it and touch up the paint. Now that's going above and beyond what she should have done, in my book. But she did it. I didn’t give the incident further thought until we received her feedback on the order.
It’s part of our procedure to send every customer an email asking for feedback on our service. I was shocked when I read this woman’s response. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see some negative comments about shipping an inferior product, but that’s not what happened. She responded giving us "excellent" ratings for everything. Then proceeded to comment on how we handled her problem and how impressed she was by the service. We were touched by the kindness and grace she showed us.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. We can run our business smoothly, get everything out in a timely manner, ship product that's in perfect condition, and everyone is pleased, but not terribly surprised. But when we handle a problem in a manner that's respectful, prompt and shows we take responsibility, people sit up and take notice.
Making a mistake isn't the end of the world. In fact, I've noticed it's actually an opportunity to be a witness for God. People notice how you handle mistakes much more than how you manage success. Admitting mistakes is hard. It always takes me swallowing the pride that threatens to surface. But people are always watching to see what I do.
I'm so relieved I don't have to do everything right. I tried that life for many years, and ended up discouraged. This incident reminded me once again, that even in my weakness, God can still use me to touch another person's life, or reflect His character.
I will probably never meet this customer who purchased a wire bathroom shelf, but I pray she knows there is a God who stands for honesty and justice, and that there are people who are trying to follow Him, who stumble, yet keep pressing on.
Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You for being perfect, and for sending us a perfect Savior. There are so many times I fall short, and make mistakes. Thank You for loving me in spite of my weaknesses. And I thank You for calling me into Your service and seeing my potential, even when I don’t see it in myself. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
[email protected]: A Practical Guide for Women Who Want to Work from Home by Glynnis Whitwer
The Tale of Three Trees retold by Angela Elwell Hunt
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Think about the last time you made a mistake. Identify one thing you wish you would have done differently. Ask God in prayer for help to make a change the next time.
Many women would rather go to the dentist, than admit they made a mistake. Why do you think that is?
How does covering up mistakes harm us?
What is freeing about admitting we made a mistake?
Galatians 6:10, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (NIV)
Ecclesiastes 10:4, “If your boss is angry at you, don’t quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes.” (NLT)
James 3:2, “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” (NLT)
© 2009 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105