What do a pandemic, a weeping coffee maker and customer service have in common? A lot actually.

I recently celebrated an important anniversary here at Rustici. No, it’s not my work-iversary or even a personal one. I celebrated the one year anniversary of “The Event That Shall Not Be Named.” And learned that, sometimes, very small things can turn into disasters when they’re left unattended.

Like many offices, Rustici was working from home in July 2020. In the ultimate betrayal by our favorite appliance — we have a deep love and respect for coffee — the water line to our upstairs coffee maker sprung a leak at a time when no one was in the office to notice. 

We aren’t exactly sure when it started, but the continuous leak likely lasted a couple days before it was discovered. Turns out, what would normally be just a bit of a mess can turn into a full on flood when no one is around to catch it. Really, the amount of damage that water can do so quickly is insane. Luckily, the leak was discovered during an office pick up, shortening the amount of time water was streaming down the walls, ceiling and floors.

I now feel like I belong to an insurance club I never wanted to join, but I also have an even deeper appreciation of stellar customer service, even in times of great stress. This was my first time working with the insurance company and with contractors on behalf of the company. In a pandemic. 

Here are a few ways I used great customer service to be a great customer. And ensured that the small things didn’t become big things because they were left unattended. 

Be excellent: Don’t underestimate the value of a good credo. 

While the whole experience was overwhelming, maintaining stellar customer service, even as a customer, was a top priority for me. Especially during a time when most people were overwhelmed with everything that was going on in the world. I wanted to make someone’s day a little easier or maybe even brighten their day a little. No matter who I was working with, I strove to be kind as a customer and as an employee.

Follow up and assume the best.

You don’t always think about the customer being the one to follow up, but during a pandemic, this became especially important. While it was sometimes hard to not take things personally when I didn’t hear back from the insurance company or contractors, I tried to assume the best and remember that everyone is doing their best in difficult circumstances.  

Being a good customer is good customer service.

Sometimes I’m a customer and sometimes I’m providing customer service. But no matter which side of the proverbial table I’m on, I strive to provide others with excellence, respect and kindness. 

All in all, we are lucky. Our staff were safe and were already working from home. We can rebuild and repaint walls, and we can replace supplies. 

While I have always aspired to be genuinely kind and concerned for everyone I interact with, I have greater appreciation for how nice it is to be on the receiving end. How even during a time when everyone was under a ton of stress others extended the same kindness and understanding to me.

Oh, and you know those randomly generated “Looking Back” iPhone videos set to a sentimental, instrumental track? Well, I now watch pictures of drywall and soggy files transitioning between videos of family gatherings. As of right now, I have way more pictures of the office flood and rebuilding than I do of my own life!


Liz is a great listener. With her background in therapy, she loves diving into people’s stories and motivations. No wonder she makes for a great office manager as she’s always in tune with everyone’s needs.