Baseball, Pain, Communication, Trust, and Customer Service

Today, I learned some valuable lessons about Communication, Trust, and Customer Service. And, I learned them in a very unusual way in a very unusual place.

My seven year old twin grandsons had a baseball game this morning.

I chose to stand behind the opposing team’s dugout to watch the game. From this ideal location, I was able to get the best view of Carter and Cooper at bat and enjoy the comfort of the shadiest spot at the park.

During the third inning, the twins were in the field and the opponents were anxiously awaiting their turn at bat. That is except for one eight year old.

He turned around and knelt on the dugout bench directly in front of me.

Looking up at me with those big, brown eyes, what he said to me was quite a shock.

“I think my father died.”

Those five words sent a chill through my entire body.

I’m not sure this child correctly read my astonishment, confusion, or emotion, even though he was looking me directly in my eyes.

“I think my father died” he repeated.

Then added, “He said he was coming to see me play.”

I felt so badly for that kid.

His deep hurt and disappointment immediately took me back to when I was a kid playing Little League baseball and high school football and my father not being able to see me play because he had to work to keep food on the table for my younger sister and me.

But obviously, this kid’s father had told him he would be there and didn’t show.

I’m not sure I saw or enjoyed much of the game after that incident.

I did congratulate him for making a nice stop and a good throw to first base when he came back to the dugout when his team was up to bat the next inning.

I wanted to do so much more but didn’t know what to do.

On the way home from the game, I started to think about what I might have learned from this “Out of the mouths of babes” moment.

And my mind started wandering in another direction.

I wonder if some of my clients thought I died.

Have I communicated with them in a timely fashion to let them know I had their best interests in mind?

Was I being a caring and supportive resource to them?

Do they trust me as someone who keeps promises or commitments?

Was I offering them true customer service or was I only interested in them when I wanted to sell them something?

I know eventually, I may get that kid’s big, brown eyes, soulful voice and hurting situation out of my mind.

But I hope I never forget the lessons he taught me about communication, trust, and customer service.

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