Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

Pit Stop: The Most Important Person

When I was in high school, I worked as a cashier in a convenience store. I was seventeen and the typical “thought-I-knew-everything-but-don’t-know-everything” kind of kid.

One morning, I was stocking shelves in an aisle when a customer started talking to me. At the end of the conversation, he accidentally spilled his coffee. Embarrassed and embarrassed, she apologized and started taking out her wallet.

“Ma’am, I’ll go pick you up after you ring, and the floor will be fine.”

My boss, who was taking inventory in the same aisle, came and said something – Aaj Tak – I will never forget.

“Oh, Carol, you don’t have to pay for it. Accidents happen, and we love our customers. So go get another cup of coffee, and don’t worry.”

“Thank you so much, Terry. That’s so appreciated. Your kindness is why I shop here.”

I was confused. What? Did my boss give him free coffee? (Of course, these were the thoughts of a gullible teenager at the time. Now I have become much wiser.)

The woman proceeded to fill up another cup of coffee, smiled as she walked past us, and was on her way. Meanwhile, in aisles two of the convenience store I managed, I learned one of life’s most valuable lessons: The customer is always right.

I think my bewildered looks prompted my boss to explain himself.

“Brian, we take care of our customers. They come every day and count on us with their business. We play a part in their lives, even if it’s milk and bread, and we are with them.” We do everything possible to make their experience enjoyable.”

I nodded understandingly and went back to grab the mop thinking that we just made a profit of $0.27.

There are many things to learn as you grow up, but the lesson I learned that day was sunk-big time.

it’s not about me

I can count the number of newsletters I subscribe to with one hand. The Sunday Dispatch by Paul Jarvis was one of them.

A few years ago, I opened my email one morning. The send-up that Paul sent that morning was “It’s not about me,”—which is pretty spectacular if you think about it because what a fervent fan few with an email subject line of “It’s not about me.” Wouldn’t want to see just about everyone?

It starts:

“My picture and words are on my site. I make and sell my own products. And I pay for this newsletter, plus hit the ‘publish’ button each week. Given all this, it’s easy to believe that this is The Paul Jarvis Show—both in terms of me thinking it sometimes and people like you believing it too. In reality, however, nothing is further from the truth.”

Then he says something impressive:

“Truly, the most important person in my business is you.”

Immediately, my coffee encounter with Carol came to mind. I was reminded of the effect that simple gestures of sincerity had on me—and it probably had a similar effect on him.

life in the digital world

Back in 2007, I quit my day job, which was given to me by another customer at the same convenience store. This job offer is the result of another story of customer-service-gone-right.

I left that job to pursue the wonderful world of creative entrepreneurship by founding a “work-at-home” thing called StudioPress. At the time, I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t know what it would be.

But one thing I did know is that, during the formative years, customer service was one of the most important things we incorporated into the brand.

I wanted customers to associate StudioPress with excellent customer service. I wanted us to be known for our kindness and our heritage as people who care.

In the digital world, people don’t spill coffee in the aisles of convenience stores, but they accidentally buy the wrong theme, get in over their heads, or want a refund for reasons they won’t disclose.

an act of service

Back to Paul.

In his email, he explained the importance of serving customers right Way:

“Building your business about your customers can be difficult. If they are angry about something, or worse, indifferent about what they bought (for example, they buy a course but start work). never log in to do this), so you can feel like you don’t care who you’re working hard to serve.”

Then he closes with:

“But in those moments, even if it’s difficult, you still have to empathize. This is the most important time to empathize, or as Brene Brown says, feel with someone. So in those moments, you have to take a step. Have to step back and see what went wrong, what you can do about that, and try and do better.”


This past fall, I announced that I was joining WP Engine As Principal Developer Advocate. Our team serves as a medium between the WordPress project and its users—accelerating innovation and helping the community transition to block editor and full site editing.

As an employee of WP Engine, a member of the WordPress community, a fellow creator, and “whatever role I play in your world,” I promise to do as Paul suggests: Better,

And if what I’m doing isn’t good enough, allow me to tell you if you find I’m not keeping that promise. because the customer—or anyone else—is always right, and the most important person to me is You,

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