落葉吹掃機事件

By Jim Mathis

不久前太太要我放棄修理家中舊的落葉吹掃機,去買一個新的替換。所以我到五金器具行買了一台。在庭院用了幾分鐘之後,因為旋轉葉片沒有蓋子,我覺得自己的手指可能會被夾斷

所以我把機器收回盒子退回給店家。那個店員告訴我要把機器拿去別家店,因為他們店沒有賣這個牌子。突然間,我明白了有人把舊的機器裝到新的盒子裡,然後到這家店退貨退款。

這個人把舊機器裝到新盒子裡,顯然是犯了竊盜罪,但店裡也沒人花點時間打開盒子來檢查,而把回收商品上架。在這種情況之下,如果我或其他的顧客受傷了,這家店可能要面對一場很大的官司。店家應該為犯錯道歉,而不應該指責買的人沒有注意自己買了甚麼。最後店家換了一個新品給我,我也打開盒子檢查,然後才離開店家。

也許店家沒有辦法阻止某些人拿了其他店買的或是壞掉的東西來退貨,但是他們可以阻止這些壞掉的商品到顧客的手中。

以前我開咖啡店的時候,我總是提醒我的員工:「交到顧客手中之前,犯的錯都不算錯。請你們在喊客人的名字之前,一定要反覆確認。」我們都可能會做出不太理想的產品,因為沒有人是完美的。但如果我們沒有在客人自行處理問題之前,先發現錯誤並且改善,問題就大了。

這樣的能力來自經驗。在我當專業攝影師的時候,必須學習辨認甚麼是好的照片,也要確認客人會拿到最好的。所以除了我以外,沒有人會看到不好的照片。

這樣的原則也能運用在其他的產業-汽車工業要努力確保生產的車子能夠順利運作、食品業要努力確保食物是好的、軟體業要確保軟體能運作、稅捐處要確保退稅金額正確、落葉吹掃機公司也要確定沒有人會因為旋轉葉片缺乏蓋子而傷到手指。發生錯誤常常是因為沒有察覺和改善錯誤的能力,以及關心顧客的心。

企業想要有這樣的能力,他們要遵守做到最好的標準。當我們努力地服務顧客,他們會再度光臨。除此之外,盡心地服務顧客背後還有一個更重要的原因。

聖經告訴我們:「無論做甚麼,或說話或行事,都要奉主耶穌的名,藉椾他感謝父上帝。」(歌羅西書3章17節)如果我們做事潦潦草草,就不是奉主耶穌的名行事。「無論做甚麼,都要從心裏做,像是給主做的,不是給人做的。」(歌羅西書3章23節)

我們也被教導:「我們原是他的工作,在基督耶穌裏造成的,為要叫我們行善,就是上帝所預備叫我們行的。」(以弗所書2章10節) 我們的工作品質也是我們對耶穌信心最真實的呈現和證據。

吉姆.馬提斯在堪薩斯州陸路公園市經營一家照相館。他的專長是商業和影劇界人像。他也經營一所攝影學校。他曾是一家咖啡店的經理,也曾是CBMC在堪薩斯州堪薩斯市和密蘇里州堪薩斯市的執行主任。

省思/討論題目

你是否也有像作者一樣,買到瑕疵品的經驗?當時你是如何處理的?當你退貨時,店家又是如何回應的?分享你的經驗。 為什麼我們工作的品質和關懷顧客的心是很重要的? 在你看來,「無論做甚麼,都要從心裏做,像是給主做的,不是給人做的,」(歌羅西書3章23節)在一個不鼓勵運用聖經原則的公司裡,這是實際可行的嗎?分享你的答案。 當你聽到這句話:「我們原是他的工作,在基督耶穌裏造成的,為要叫我們行善,就是上帝所預備叫我們行的。」你有甚麼想法,請與大家分享。

如果你手上有聖經,希望閱讀更多與這個主題有關的經文,請參考:箴言10章4節、12章27節;22章21節;傳道書2章24-26節;以弗所書6章5-9節;提摩太後書 3章16-17節

THE GREAT LEAF BLOWER INCIDENT

By Jim Mathis

Some time ago my wife suggested I stop patching up my old leaf blower and buy a new one. So I bought one at a local home improvement store. After a few minutes of blowing off the patio, however, I realized I had come very close to cutting off my fingers because there was no guard on the machine”s impeller.

I put it back in the box and returned it to the store. The clerk at the returns desk told me I needed to take it back to another store where she presumed I had bought it, since her store did not sell that brand. It did not take long to figure out someone had purchased a blower at the home improvement store, but then had put another, broken blower in the box and taken it back for a refund.

If the unknown customer”s outright larceny was not bad enough, apparently no one at the home store had bothered to look in the box before they put it back on the shelf. In failing to do so, they could have faced a major lawsuit if I or someone else had been injured using it. It would have nice if the store had apologized for their error, instead of wrongfully accusing me of not paying attention to what I was buying. Ultimately they did give me a replacement blower. I did open the box to inspect the new one before I left the store.

It may be impossible to avoid the thieves and petty criminals that would return faulty or damaged merchandise to another store, but we can control what goes out the door to our customers.

When I ran a coffeehouse, I always told our staff that a drink wasn't a mistake until they handed it to a customer. “Double-check everything before you call their name,” I instructed them. We all make bad food, poor pictures, or products that do not work. No one is perfect. The problem comes when we are not competent enough to recognize the problem and fix it before the customer has to deal with it.

Competence comes from experience. In my business as a professional photographer, I have learned to know a good photo when I see it, and make sure the clients only get the best. Nobody sees the bad ones I have produced but me.

This principle applies to any business. We must strive to ensure the car is running right, the food is good, the software works, the tax return is correct, and that nobody gets fingers cutoff because of a missing safety guard. Wrong things happen because of incompetence or not caring about the client or customer.

Adhering to standards of excellence make good sense from a business perspective. When we serve our customers well, they are more likely to patronize us in the future. But there is an even higher reason for always doing our very best:

The Scriptures tell us, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). If we perform shoddy work, can we in good conscience, “do it in the name of Jesus”? Later in the same chapter it states, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23). We should be proud to present our work – whatever it is – to God as a precious, even sacrificial gift.

We are also told, “For we are God”s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works…” (Ephesians 2:10). The quality of our work might be the greatest evidence of the genuineness of our faith.

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

Have you ever had a similar situation when you bought a defective product from a store? How did you respond? And how did the store respond when you returned it? Why is the quality of our work – and our care for our customers and clients – so important? In your view, what does it mean to “work as for the Lord, not for men”? Is that practical, or even possible, when you work in an organization that does not encourage using biblical principles as a guide for everyday business practices? Explain your answer. When you consider the Bible”s teaching, that “we are God”s workmanship” and we are created to do good works, what comes to mind? How do you respond to that?

If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Proverbs 10:4, 12:27, 22:21; Ecclesiastes 2:24-26; Ephesians 6:5-9; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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