Sorry, We Can’t Go Fishing!
For the first time in my career, an injury has sidelined me for an extended period of time. In my former work lives I prided myself in never missing a single day of work or even school. It doesn't matter what it was that forced me to cancel 3 weeks of guiding...so far.
It's the worst thing that a guide has to do. I hate canceling trips. In the past 15 years I have only cancelled due to weather or fishing conditions. Never due to my personal issues. It's bad enough calling off a trip due to high winds or storms, completely understandable due to safety, but for any other reason it's
unacceptable. I was very reluctant to disappoint a father and son or the four buddies who planned a two-day trip for months. Fishing had become an integral part of their plans and I was the one variable they hadn't foreseen.
Sure, I've had a few colds or a sore muscle or sprained knee or ankle, but I was always able to tough it out. I spend the off-season getting into fishing shape and during the season I maintain my conditioning with walking, running, weightlifting and swimming.
In the height of my recent ailment I had to muster up my strength to make a dozen calls to deliver the bad news. I even tried to find other guides, but there aren't that many Potomac River guides. Never having to have broken my commitment to fish under theses circumstances, I made the calls, one by one, apologetic over each broken promise to take them out during the prime time of the season. I expected the worst. I figured they would be angry and disappointed! I felt they would blame me for ruining their plans, and they would be justified. After all, I wasn't delaying their trip by a day or two, it will be a month before I can find the time to take them out.
But I received a different reaction. It was one of concern about my health and how I was feeling! In fact several of them called to check in on me. Some of these clients were complete strangers. They cared just the same. My regulars called to cheer me up and offered assistance in any way. As my other associate
guides were able to free up their schedules I offered make up dates for the cancelled trips. Every single one of my clients turned me down, wanting to reschedule with me, and only me.
Guiding is a job. You have to treat it that way! Decisions are all business! Customer satisfaction is job one! Sometimes, in spite of my years of experience, I learn something new. Mostly I learn how to improve my results, streamline my business or improve my marketing. In these past weeks, I've learned more. My
customers really are right! I treat them the way I would expect to be treated. I just now found out they feel the same way.
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