Meeting expectations – the story of ‘Robbie come back’

As a lad I was way ‘Aussie.’ An avid sports fan who played footy, cricket and basketball, no matter what the weather. Given my limited skills (and pace – short legs are great for flying, not much chop for sprints…) I often found myself playing in the backline in footy. There was the occasional foray to be ruck-rover, usually when someone needed ‘stopping.’

One kid I played with was Robbie Murrell. He was good, very good. He’d win the batting (not betting), bowling and fielding awards in cricket and was a gun footballer. Problem was, at the start of each season he’d usually start training with an opposition team, to test how much we wanted him and to feel loved again. This earned him the nickname of ‘Robbie come back.’ Kind of like the boy who cried wolf – but the small town sporting version in this case.

The ‘Robbie come back’ story surfaced recently in my other life – our cafe and catering businesses. We’d decided to change coffee suppliers. We’d given them plenty of feedback on what we wanted changed, but in the end we saw no action.

After we’d announced the change, we got the calls and the visits. “What can we do to get your business back? What can we fix for you?” We’d become ‘Robbie come back!’

It made me think about the things we should be doing with either our clients or staff to ensure they don’t become Robbie. Here’s a few ideas:
•    Invite them out for coffee or lunch just to catch up and see how they’re doing
•    Send them something of interest or value to them (an article or perhaps even a small souvenier from your last holiday
•    Invite them along to a presentation or seminar that you know they’d be interested in – take them as your guest (if the budget allows it)

There’s no need to be a stalker nor break the budget or any (apparently they exist) Departmental policies – just keep it simple. A phone call is often enough for people to feel valued again – try it…I dare you!

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Andrew Huffer

Andrew Huffer has over 25 years experience in working with organisations, businesses, managers and communities and at a state, national and international level. He designs and delivers specialist engagement processes, with a focus on facilitating open decision making processes and skill development of clients. He has delivered presentations and workshops at a number of state, national and international conferences.

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