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The 4 Worst Words Anyone Has Ever Said to Me


by Glenn Shepard
August 29, 2017
Category: Customer Service


Dallas, TX Sept 26
Paris, TX Sept 27

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You think you know, but you don’t….

unless you’ve been through it yourself.

All the flooding in Texas that you’re seeing on TV right now is bad. But the worst is yet to come, and the national media won’t be around for that part.

It’s what happens after the high-drama rescues are over and the water has receded.

Right now, people are focused on SAVING lives. Several deaths have already been reported, and there will be more. But that will be a relatively small number in proportion to the thousands (maybe millions) of lives affected by the flood.

The big story is how all these people will REBUILD their lives.

That will take years, and every event in their lives will be defined from here on out as ATF and BTF (“After the Flood” and “Before the Flood”).

There will be an indescribable sense of loneliness and abandonment after all the cameras are gone.

I know this because on May 1, 2010, my hometown of Nashville was hit with a 500-year flood. Our home was spared, but my company was destroyed. We had to replace hundreds of thousands of dollars of printing presses, mailing equipment (folders, envelope inserters, etc.), and a black Chevy van that literally floated away.

Eventually, we got back to normal. But what I remember most from that horrible time in my life was four very, very poorly chosen words someone said to me.

The office park we were in was owned by a large commercial property developer with over 1600 employees, and I assumed their people would have been trained on how to deal with natural disasters like this.

While every building was eventually rebuilt with new drywall, carpet, HVAC, etc., a decision had to be made about which ones to repair first.

I noticed the building across from ours was being repaired first and that didn’t seem right since we’d been there for ten years, and they’d only been there for about two.

When I protested to the property manager, she explained that we were “Not a priority” and the other unit was. Reason: The other unit was a warehouse that contained merchandise sold at Taylor Swift’s concerts. When asked why they had priority over us, she responded “Because it’s Taylor Swift”.

(I suspect it also had to do with the fact we only occupied 2,000 square feet and they occupied about 10,000).

Apparently, I was wrong in my assumption that this property management company trained its employees on how to deal with these situations.

Even if a customer’s business isn’t that important to you, you NEVER tell one customer that another customer is more important than they are. You treat every customer as if they’re the most important one you have.

If you have friends or family who are affected by Hurricane Harvey and want to help, don’t drive to Houston with bottled water. (EVERYBODY brings you bottled water when you get hit by a flood).

Instead, ASK how you can help, and keep checking in on them after the water recedes. Letting them know you haven’t forgotten about them after the news media is gone will mean far more than all the food, clothes, diapers, and everything else people donate.

And if you have customers who are affected by this horrific event, train your employees how to be empathetic toward what they’re going through. I still remember a call I received from our banker at SunTrust on 5/3/10, who was calling all his business accounts to see if they were OK. I was covered in Flood Mud and trying to get him off the phone quickly because 4 of our 5 phone lines were down, but still appreciate his call to this day.

To Your Success,

Glenn Shepard

 To be clear, Taylor Swift had no direct involvement with the warehouse situation. If she did, I’m confident she would have handled it much better than the CNSR (Customer No Service Rep).

P.P.S.  Also to be clear, we were about to buy a newer van anyway, and give the black one to someone in need, as I’ve done with three other vehicles. So technically, I didn’t lose the van, but someone else who needed a vehicle did.


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