Meet Ben Richards

Armidale Carer, Ben Richards, went above and beyond when one of his clients, Mrs J, had a fridge emergency. He shares his story of how he swiftly solved the situation.

How was this service different from other services we provide for Mrs J?

​This wasn’t a run-of-the-mill type of service. It was an emergency that needed our immediate attention. Mrs J’s fridge had stopped working so all her food was at risk of spoiling; also her insulin was warm and she was very upset. The fridge breaking was at the end of a long list of things that had gone wrong for Mrs J that week. 

I cleaned the fridge and then rang around until I found a retailer who had fridges available for delivery that day. I drove Mrs J into town so she could pick a fridge she liked. We organised delivery in 25 minutes, and then raced back to her place to get the old fridge out of the way and the new fridge inside and ready to go.

​Mrs J stopped for a cup of tea and I helped her with a shopping list for the next three or four days. We then went shopping together to fill the new fridge. So, three hours after first visiting Mrs J, she had a brand new fridge filled with fresh groceries!

How did you approach solving the issue?

I rang around first as I didn’t want to promise something unless I knew we could follow through. Mrs J was quite upset, so I offered my support as I explained the situation to her, and reassured her that any issues around her safety, such as the storage of her insulin, had been looked after. The client was distressed and had not even thought about these ramifications, so she seemed comforted by my confident handling of the situation.

Why do you think it is important to be able to work in this way?

We have to be able to think on our feet. Every day is different and you don’t know what you might walk into. It’s important to help clients make decisions without second guessing yourself or them. You need to put yourself into your client’s shoes and think ‘what would I want to happen?’.

What difference did you feel this made to the overall customer service for Mrs J?

Mrs J was relieved and happy at the end. She was appreciative — and surprised! — that we could get a fridge on a Saturday at 12pm and have it filled with food by 3pm. She really felt like we had helped her. It was great to see her so lively and calm after the day’s events.

What, if any, professional satisfaction did you get from that service and why?

To be honest, I didn’t get any more satisfaction out of this experience than I do from any other. It’s all a part of my job, and I love it. Whether I’m replacing a fridge or helping a client to put on their stockings, it’s wonderful to know that I’m helping someone. Their gratitude is always there.