By Tammy Harrison
One of the best things about working from home is the freedom that comes with working for myself. When I need to be the mom or enjoy a day with my kids, I can turn the computer and the telephone off and leave my work behind me. When we want to travel, all I have to do is load the laptop and cell phone in the auto and embark on places unknown!
To me, that freedom is something that cannot be replaced by a job in a stuffy office, just to have the security of an employer-sponsored retirement plan or the wage-lowering benefits of health insurance.
Last week, we planned a holiday get-together with my husband's family, meeting halfway between our home and theirs. It was to be a 800+ mile trek for both of us, and we had reservations at a lodge; and plans to enjoy our time playing and visiting.
Three years ago, we had made reservations to stay at The Golden Eagle Lodge in Red River, New Mexico. I had given the man our credit card information and he charged the deposit to our account. Within a month, my sister-in-law was a victim of the flood that ran through central Texas, and she lost her entire house and most contents. At that time, she decided she was not up to a Christmas holiday and I called the lodge to cancel our reservations. The customer service was phenomenol, and despite the fact that we were not entitled to all of our deposit back, they refunded the entire amount--not even taking the credit card processing fees that they had to pay on the original funds. This was definitely a place that knew the value of a good customer!
The day after our arrival last week, the very gracious lodge manager came to make sure our first night was comfortable and to ask if there was anything that he could do to ensure that we had a good stay. We discussed extra trash bags for baby diapers, a vacuum cleaner so that the floor was free of debris for tiny hands and an internet connection.
Oops, I said the wrong thing. They were lucky to have party-lines on the phones in the hotel, not to mention the fact that fibre-optics were not available in their mountains! Copper lines ran through the town, and getting an internet connection meant waiting until midnight, and calling long-distance to the nearest city.
Lucky for me, a wise man in town was thinking of the connected world and the tourism dollars that came through. He installed a satallite dish on his gas station and opened the first Red River cyber cafe!
Think about this for a minute. Two entrepreneurs, in a very small tourist town, are doing what they can to bring folks to their utopia. No matter the condition of the lodge, we came away with positive impressions about the place, just because of the way we were treated. And, although my laptop life-line to the world was not available from the comfort of my robe and fuzzy slippers, there was an option available to meet my needs.
Are you doing the same with your home-based business? Are you providing unmatched customer service? Are you meeting the needs of your audience? If not, take a trip to Red River, New Mexico -- and take notes!
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