Few summers back, we (my wife, son and I) were returning home and wanted to have our favourite summer drink – tender coconut water. There were a few road side vendors on the Iblur road (Bengaluru, India) and we stopped by one of them. We asked for three coconuts and the vendor served them to us.
As we sipped, my coconut didn’t taste good. I finished drinking it without complaining and went for one more. As he gave me one more, he asked others if they also wanted to go for a second one. I casually told him that the one I got wasn’t good and hence I’m going for a second one.
As we finished drinking it, I handed him a 100 rupee note (each one was 25 rupees), thanked him and turned around to walk back. He stopped me and gave me 25 rupees back. I was surprised. He read my thoughts and said he can’t charge for the coconut which I didn’t like. While I insisted that it’s fine and he should charge me 100, he was adamant and didn’t accept the money from me. I had to relent and I left the place speechless.
On one hand, we have many big business houses for whom customer service is just a tick in the box. They seek feedback but no one knows what they do with it. While on the other, this street side vendor earning a few hundred rupees profit daily (about USD10), leaves me speechless with his attitude. He has already paid for the coconut that I didn’t like. And to earn that cost back, he probably has to sell 3-4 coconuts. In spite of that, he didn’t think twice before returning the money to me for the bad coconut.
The life lessons for me:
1) Most of the costumers that these vendors have are usually one time customers – it’s very rare to get a repeat customer. Being in the business, I’m sure he knows it better than me. But that didn’t stop him from returning the money to me. He has put his values before profits.
2) He trusted my feedback that the coconut taste wasn’t good. Neither did he question me nor did he give justification. He simply trusted me. Being trusted by an unknown person is so overwhelming.
3) I didn’t complain about the product quality. I didn’t even ask him for a refund. He did that voluntarily, fully knowing that he’ll not make any money on this transaction with me. Being a poor vendor, he did what many rich wouldn’t even think of. If you want to do something right, it’s your attitude that counts and not your financial status.
4) And lastly, when you do go above and beyond, it gets noticed and appreciated (that summer, I became his loyal customer)
What are your interpretations from this instance? Please post your thoughts in the comments section below – it’ll help me (and other readers as well) learn more and get better.
As always, I sincerely thank you for all your support.
STAY HAPPY AND STAY BLESSED!