by Mark Messing
So often we walk into the franchise locations of our lives to find a smiling face and a terrible attitude. Establishments backed by illogical policies and a lack of motivation force their employees to plaster smiles on their faces without reinforcing actual customer service. Unfortunately, these companies don’t understand that an insincere smile is worthless, especially if it is served next to impatience and irritability. The difference between a great company and a good one is this: a good company stresses customer service tactics, while a great company must have a customer service lifestyle. Though a smile is certainly a huge part of this approach, it is not a substitute for the mindset that backs it.
When is a smile good enough?
When does a smile represent everything that is meant by “the Diff”? The immediate response is that no such smile exists. Yet, we can all look back on the times in our lives when a smile made a difference.
For me, that smile comes from an uncle named “Sal.” My uncle Sal has led an extraordinary life, though very little of it was by choice. I’m sure that while he was growing up he imagined having a quiet, calm farm life. But one day he was informed that the seed he was using contained a chemical that was killing him. It was shutting down his kidneys, and other vital organs were sure to follow.
I can’t imagine how I would have dealt with that news. I could never quite understand why such a terrible thing could happen to someone so friendly. They said my uncle had a year to live. A year later my Uncle Sal was happy to be alive. So happy in fact, that he didn’t let the bad news affect him when he was told his kidney medication was causing skin cancer. My uncle was sure to die in the next five years. Ten years later my Uncle Sal was happy to be alive. So happy, that he smiled as he went into the operating room for a heart bypass surgery. And he smiled as he recovered from the following three bypass surgeries he would have in the next five years.
My uncle Sal has been in and out of the hospital for the past 25 years. He taught me that we always have it a little bit better than someone, and we need to be grateful for that. I couldn’t tell you how much physical or emotional pain my uncle has been through in the past 25 years, because my uncle never showed it. At every family event he greets me by happily saying my name with a smile. It’s a sincere smile. A smile that shows he appreciates his day today, a sentiment which he will be sure to tell you.
To me, my uncle Sal’s smile is “the Diff” because every smile he shows is a genuine smile. And with every smile my uncle Sal is making the best of the world around him. Isn’t that what “the Diff” represents? Isn’t that what the ISMs represent? For my uncle, it meant smiling for 25 years while everything seemed to be falling apart. Quicken Loans gives us the opportunity to do much more. We (not they) can constantly be changing for the better.
We can constantly be doing instead of waiting, and helping instead of selling. We can make the best of our own lives by achieving everything we told ourselves we couldn’t. Not only that, but we are encouraged to. In the end, “the Diff” won’t only be about the difference between good and great, but about making a difference altogether. And after we accomplish something as challenging as that, there will be nothing left to do but smile.