We all know that there are companies we simply put up with. Others we hate. Some we love, but learn to put up with and ultimately degrade into a hatred. It happens. Time marches on and customer service goes down, priorities shift, things simply change and it goes from good to bad to worse, on occasion.
Back in college, I had a trusted adult in my church that ran a mechanics shop. I could call him and tell him my car was making a noise, describe the noise, and he would diagnose the issue and suggest solutions, over the phone, with no visit to his shop. As time marched on, we continued to take our vehicles to him for help and repairs. As his company grew, so did the dissatisfied service provided, until the day that we had to leave and find another mechanic. Sad. But it happens.
On the flip side, how often do you fall in love with a company, get treated well initially, but as time marches on, they treat you better and better? Think to yourself, list out the times that this has happened to you. I'm betting that it is not often that this happens. I can think of few examples myself. However, as the title of this post suggests, I have one such example.
Lets talk about "this Company"
Years ago, as a young Database Professional, I heard of a company that had a simple tool that compared databases. This wasn't rocket science, but it did prove handy from time to time. I used the tool, more and more. As the company made progress, they made the tool better, and soon branched out into other tools. I do recall thinking that this was a mistake, that doing too many apps or tools would cause them to loose focus, and the tools I had grown to love might suffer, and the company, like so many others, would go down in my eyes. I have been involved in a few different levels as an outsider with this company. I even made a little money for doing usability testing on various products. I had used the product, and they wanted to know some information from me, and I freely gave that information. The payment was a bonus, I thought. I woulda given the info to help out. But was glad to get something back from them. In fact, the motorcycle gear bag I won now, and have used for many years, was purchased using part of that money. It made it easier for me to put in the rest of the money on the bag myself. I think about them every time that I ride and enjoy using that gear bag. Ironically, its red. Not because of anything other than it was the best looking bag at the store at the time. But I find it funny that it's red.
So the days, weeks, months and years march on. I continue to try out products, continue to use the old standard apps and tools, continue to simply use what they have produced and love it. So many times one of their tools has come to my rescue and helped me out. 9 months ago I finally took the time to dig into the API and write an app (a feat which i had almost forgotten from my developer days) that generates snapshots from all the databases on a server. Simple task. However using their tool saves me tons of time from manually doing it. And using the API saves me even more time. Minutes compared to hours. Recently I purchased a monitoring tool that has given me the peace of mind that something is always watching my database, and will let me know when or if something goes awry. Being a single DBA with no NOC to watch my systems, this has greatly improved my life and as mentioned, peace of mind.
All this is praise for a job well done, and should be expected of a company providing tools and apps and simply trying to sell their wares to us. However, this company does a bit more. They interact with the community and you as an individual. I have many stories that I could tell you. Some of them involving some funny situations. Find me someday, and I will relate them to you. The best involves a bio break + phone call. But the one I wish to relate today is the personal touch that they perform that affects me and my life. They reach out and in a way no other company ever has, touches you. They make sure that you know you are important to them.
The actual Story
The story is simple and short and happened in the last couple days. A few months ago I received a package from RedGate that contained some swag. One of the items was a lanyard. My son saw this and wanted to have it. He transitioned it into a school badge holder, which he wears to school every day. Monday of this week he participated in a school play, and was proudly wearing his Red lanyard along with his play costume, which comprised of a few pieces of gold material around his wrists and head. I took a picture of him in this getup, with the proud smile. Since he was wearing the lanyard, I figured I should share this with the twitterverse, letting RedGate know via hashtag. Her is the picture.
This photo is me just showing my support for my son and by extension for RedGate.
A day later, I received a picture from RedGate that showed that at least 10 people were thinking of me and my son and wanted to touch us from across the pond. Here is that photo.
How awesome is that!?!?!? Have you ever had a company go out of their way to show their support for you in such a fun and silly manner? Simply having a good time, but at the same time, making that connection that we have both forged over time that much stronger. I owe each of these individuals a hug or a heartfelt hand shake, which ever they feel most comfortable with. I bet though, by looking at the that way they responded, they'd opt for the hug.
Way to go guys. You made quite a few of us happy today with this response, and I can't wait to show my son later today what you've done for him also.
You already have my loyalty and appreciation and even a bit of my and my companies money. This is simply over and above. And we love you for it.