This week I had lunch with a client at a nice restaurant. The gentleman with whom I shared a repast is someone I've worked with for about two years now, and we have developed a friendly relationship. In addition to helping him with commercial title insurance, I usually meet him for a meal every couple of months. So, while we're not necessarily "buddies," we have more than a superficial association.
We had an amiable conversation, discussing business, the economy, the real estate market, kids, parenting, summer camps, etc. We enjoyed an excellent lunch, and left, shaking hands, on a pleasant note. Imagine my chagrin, then, when I got in my car, looked in my rear-view mirror, and realized I had visible chunks of macadamia-chicken tacos in my teeth!
I was so embarrassed! Did my client notice? If so, was he offended? I felt a bit deflated as I drove back to the office.
I tried not to obsess too much about it- after all, it was too late to do anything and, ultimately, it wasn't that big of a deal... It's something that happens to everyone once in a while. And yet, I suppose you could say the scenario stuck in my craw. Any of my close pals would have said something to the effect of, "Hey man, you've got something in your teeth," and I would have immediately taken care of it (I even have a mirror "app" on my iphone for such situations). My client, presumably, declined to mention anything out of politeness. If Stewart Title or I ever did anything that wasn't to his satisfaction, however, I hope he would speak up!
The result is my dental fiasco ended up being a welcome wake-up call. Going forward, I am going to emphasize to all of my clients that if they ever, at any point, are not 100% happy, there is no shame or embarrassment in immediately letting me know. I would much rather proverbially pick my teeth than proverbially watch business relationships recede in my proverbial rear-view mirror!