Business and Operations
From the Editor’s Desk: November 2006
By Cam Wood
By Cam Wood
Often, the simplest of things can be the hardest to
achieve in business. It was something quite simple that led Nancy
Friedman to find a new career as the Telephone Doctor.
Often, the simplest of things can be the hardest to achieve in business. It was something quite simple that led Nancy Friedman to find a new career as the Telephone Doctor.
Friedman was ticked off that her insurance company couldn’t bother to offer simple appreciation for her business, so she walked in one day and told the manager that despite the years of business she had given them, she was leaving. When he asked why, she told him that at her business they treated wrong numbers better than his agents treated paying customers.
What surprised Friedman was the response. The insurance executive agreed and begged her to help him turn the staff around. She agreed, and since then has been delivering her simple message of positive telephone manners.
Could independent pizzeria operators benefit from a positive telephone presence? Given that the major competition has call centres and automated ordering, Friedman is adamant that positive phone manners will bring customers back to the pizzeria, not technology.
We’ve all been touched by bad business experiences, but can you recall the last good one?
By the time you read this, our story with Juan Hermosillo, the pizza spinner seeking a new life in Canada, will have reached a new chapter in a longer story.
Our publisher said I should say we were “overwhelmed” by the response to our article on him.
I considered it briefly. The response has been amazing, so I don’t feel like putting a cliché to it. I’m more at a loss for words.
After spending some time with Juan, many of the reasons why I began a career in journalism came back to mind. Here was something that mattered on a much bigger scale. It wasn’t about developing new recipes, profiling new equipment or waxing poetic about wine pairing. This was about pouring a part of us into this young man’s story … and trying desperately to write the perfect ending to his story.
It became about making a difference, and counting for something.
Juan recently travelled to Toronto to meet with Pizza Pizza after they read our story about him. Our friend, Daniel Torchia at Torchia Communications, invested an awesome amount of time into this, putting Juan in front of company executives, working with their legal department to see what can be done to help this young man.
Unfortunately, time ran out on all of us. Juan had to return to Mexico and an uncertain future.
I am grateful for all the help Juan has received. I’ve grown quite fond of this young man. Listening to his story, trying to comprehend where he gets the strength to cope each day, has forced me to confront the simple things I take for granted.
I promised him, during his final hours here, that his story is not yet done. There is no perfect ending, just many chapters yet to be written.
But I do know the Canadian pizza industry is an amazing group of people. That so many cared enough about what we wrote to call us, e-mail us, offer jobs and help to Juan is so much more than “overwhelming.”
Even “thank-you” hardly seems like enough.•