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'So, My Garage Door Opener Was
Noisy' (A Voice Over Story, Really) 
By Rick Gordon
Voice Talent & Owner
Commercial & e-Learning

The house was nine years old when we bought it.
A baby in house longevity I would think, and according to the home inspector a real gem, high quality construction throughout.
Nice sunken living room with a vaulted ceiling. Three bedrooms and a rec room to die for - huge and well laid out.
A river in the backyard and the 1.5 acre property offering really nice breathing room for two and Benji the Beagle.
A double-car garage-plus, which easily fits the compact and full size chariots along with plenty of room for a professionally built 5X8 trailer.
But one of the two garage door openers was a little noisy ... well OK, a lot noisy. I thought, good luck, with a nine-year old house, what would you expect?
So the first thing that came to mind was to call the company that made the garage door openers.
WOW. A manual and an 800 number. Why not? Who knows?
As you would expect, I was put on hold for 10 minutes-plus, and then this young lady answers and says, "Chamberlain Doors, how may I help you?"
So I gave her my story, and she said, "No problem, sounds like the opener has been neglected and needs a little TLC."
But, I said, "I bought the house last year and it is nine years old. Do you mean the openers are still under warranty?"
She responded, "Sure, it is still covered. Do you have some basic mechanical stills and a few tools?"
"Yup. I'll get my step ladder and tools together and call you back. Is that OK?"
She says, "Why should you have to call me back? You waited over 10 minutes for me to answer your call. The least I can do is wait a few minutes for you to get ready for the repair."
I was astounded!
"You've got to be kidding. You will do that for me?"
"Sure I will," she says. "I'll be right here waiting."
So off I went as fast as I could. This is unbelievable.
Picking up the phone, "Sorry for all the noise," I said. "I was dragging the ladder and setting it up."
"No problem at all, Rick. So are you ready for the repair?"
She walked me through every adjustment. I'm sure it took 45 minutes or so, and when we were done I was so pleased.
In addition to the door working better and more quietly - which she could hear and testify to - I could not believe any company would go to these measures for someone who bought a used home and may or may not be a future customer.
Who were they? They are in Illinois, USA. I am in Ottawa, Canada. They cared.
OK, nice, what the %^%$# does this have to do with voice over? Nice of you to ask.
A few weeks ago, I was asked to do some repairs to an old voice project, which had some script changes for an e-learning company that I dealt with for 4 years ago.
I could have treated this opportunity as a new customer and charged top dollar since we parted ways long ago.
But I thought of Chamberlain Garage Doors.
Could they not have done the same thing? I mean, they could have said, "Sorry".
But they didn't, and she did not even give me a sales pitch about replacing the old openers with new ones.
I could have done the same. But my dealings with Chamberlain reminded me of what "service" means.
I completed the repairs and charged the client half of my minimum. The client knew of the discount, and of course was very appreciative.
Chamberlain did not cause my problem, but opted to assist their client. I did the same.
Will this mean future voice over work? Probably.
Do I feel good about this? For sure.
Keep your clients happy. Even when you have an opportunity to rape and pillage, don't do it.
This may be a short life, but at times it's on a long road.
Rick Gordon is a veteran voice talent based in Canada, and is also the founder and owner of two major online voice-over marketplaces: Commercial and e-Learning Commercial was created 10 years ago as the web site where voice talents are "hit and heard." e-Learning was introduced in 2008 specifically for e-Learning voice-over projects.
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Comments (13)
Steve Krumlauf
6/30/2017 at 3:11 PM
Funny thing, when I started reading your squeaky door story, Rick, I thought you were just trying to fix your noise floor in your VO booth!

You have just written the manual, Rick, on "How to Win and Keep Clients 101." A classic example of "exceptional service without exception." Maybe somebody should create a bumper sticker "Remember Chamberlain Doors" that we could all hang up in our recording spaces. That's a keeper!
Fredrick Burns
3/24/2013 at 8:04 PM
Paying it forward! Good for you! :-)
brian mills
1/21/2011 at 11:43 AM
Excellent story. It is all about relationships. I also believe your integrity speaks volumes. I am sure the universe has taken note.
Jane Ingalls
1/20/2011 at 6:16 PM
Great story, Rick.
If there's a way to forward it to Chamberlain, they might appreciate reading it.
And who knows? They might hire you as well!

Susan Manhire
1/20/2011 at 5:46 PM
Rick is right on target. While I am a voice over artist, my "real" job is that of a small business owner. My husband and I operate a 2nd generation optical business. We bend over backwards just like the garage door opener co. Rick spoke about. So, what does it do for us ... it has people ordering their eyeglasses from us when they live in all parts of the USA. Yep, they just can't get the care and service we deliver so we UPS lots of glasses all of the time. And yes, I maintain that same commitment to excellence in my VO business. I get lots of "thank yous," lots of referral business, and sleep really well at night.
Scott Carr
1/20/2011 at 4:07 PM
Amen Rick! Nice story, and a great lesson.
dc goode
1/20/2011 at 12:01 PM
GREAT story and analogy, Rick.
Kudos to the folks at Chamberlain!
That's doin it right!
Marcus Weems
1/20/2011 at 10:39 AM
Great take on a (hopefully) recurring theme of old clients calling you back. Wish I could say that I had always been that magnanimous in the past ... Oh, well ... I will try to be so in the future. Thanks for this invaluable suggestion.
Johnny George
1/20/2011 at 10:30 AM
What a wonderful story. And you couldn't be more on target. I too have had opportunities to do the same and it pays off in spades. And yes, I feel good about me, and the chance to be their reminder that there are good and fair people still out here.

One of my clients I had given a gratis pickup for a project way out of it's original date had not used me for over a year, and when they were bought out by another company and a new campaign needed a voiceover, they called me and told me I got it because of my super-service. This was after 16 months.

SO I always try to under-promise and over-deliver with all my clients, big & small.
Joel Richards
1/20/2011 at 8:47 AM
What a timely article. I was just mulling over how to handle similar customer service situation. I would add that it is important that your customers understand what you are giving them.

Sounds like your e-learnig company had some experience with revisions and knew you had the right/opportunity to ask for full price. I place my full, regular price on an invoice when courtesy, competition, or customer service requires a discount. Otherwise some customers come to expect that price or it reinforces the myth that a finished two minutes of audio only takes two minutes of time!
Paul Strikwerda
1/20/2011 at 7:38 AM
The moral of the story: excellent customer service quietly closes doors!

Seriously: thanks for sharing this great example of client-focused thinking.

All of us are in business to do one thing: to fix problems. The more tools we have in our toolbox, the more solutions we can offer.
Paul J. Warwick
1/20/2011 at 6:46 AM
I agree! Taking the high road makes a much better trip!
Debbie Irwin
1/20/2011 at 12:30 AM
It's the Golden Rule, is it not?
And the reminder is invaluable.
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