My mother spent her career as a research librarian at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, a major government facility in NY. Books were always a big part of our lives growing up and still remain so. I try to read a couple of non-fiction books per month in the hopes of gaining some brilliant insight that will help me, Billtrust, or my family. Often times there are books that I would like to read that I never get around to because I’m either too cheap to buy it, too lazy to go on Amazon, or too forgetful to even remember I want to read it. I may be the only CEO in America who hasn’t read Who Moved My Cheese?
Last month I decided to do something about it and started the Billtrust Library. The Billtrust Library is basically just a bookcase outside of my office that Mitch Rose, our VP of Marketing, and I stocked with a bunch of books from our personal collections. All employees are free to take any book they want, share some books from their own collections, or ask for us to buy a new book to add to the library.
I'm not sure if others have gotten value out of this yet but I certainly have. I happened to notice someone put a copy of How to Win Friends & Influence People in the library, a good case of a book I've always meant to read and haven't gotten around to it. The book was originally published in 1936 and has sold more then 35 million copies worldwide.
The books is just packed with great tips of how you can increase your chances of success as anything from a parent to a business leader.
On Friday a Billtrust customer called and left me a voice mail message to voice his displeasure about about the timeliness of a project that we were working on for him. I called him back to learn more and let him know that I would do some more research about what had happened and let him know how we were going to fix it.
Here's what I found out: he had given us a custom job on Monday and we didn't get it out until Friday. We have a 3-5 day policy for custom jobs because we need to run them through a setup procedure and a number of quality control procedures so we were within our acceptable time frame. In the past, I might have responded to the customer that we're sorry he's dissatisfied with our turn around time but that's the time we need. However, I had just recently read this book and one of the main points it makes is it almost never matters what you think, it always matters what the customer/prospect thinks.
So I put myself in his shoes. What he really wanted was quick turnaround time, policy or no policy. So we changed the policy. I met with some of our team and we figured out a way to do it faster with the same quality. I called him back and told him that I agreed with him, our policy was bad, and told him that we had fixed it. We waived all fees associated with this project and asked him to give us a chance to do better the next time. I'm hoping he will.