I’ve had profound customer service experiences with three different companies in the last several months; teachable moments all of them, so I want to pass them on to you.
Now, it is not my intent to bash anyone’s business specifically, or leave what would amount to a terrible Yelp review, but rather to look at the different ways founders handle a customer experience that could easily tank.
After all, we’re very good at the honeymoon part of the customer journey. It’s how we behave when the pink cloud dissipates that predicts the success or failure of a relationship.
Also… Remember it takes two to make an accident. Nothing is ever entirely the customer’s or the seller’s fault.
So the first one was a Facebook marketing company that came highly recommended. Everything was off to a good start. We had an account manager who was running things really well.
Since I had initially reached out to the founder of the company through a personal introduction, I got the impression that we were getting the VIP treatment.
Teachable Moment #1 — Don’t assume special treatment. Is there ever really such as thing as VIP treatment or do we just say that? Here I learned that the “some are more equal than others” strategy is a big shiny trap — my mistake.
Our account manager quit, and they put someone else on the account. A week later they put someone else on it. Then two weeks later, they put yet another person on the account.
Teachable Moment #2 — Again, my mistake. I should have cut bait then. I should have noticed that something negative was going on internally in the company. I should have extricated my self immediately. I didn’t.
Teachable Moment #3 — Don’t should all over yourself. Just learn the lesson and don’t repeat the same mistake.
We totally lost momentum, wasted a bunch of money, and most importantly, they weren’t delivering on their promise. Honestly, how could they? We began again from the beginning with four separate people. When our contract was due to be renewed, I emailed them and asked how to notify them that we’re canceling? The response was, “You just have to let us know by Monday.”
So that was it.
I reached out to the founder, who was very apologetic. They gave us a free month, and it did didn’t get any better. How could it as that point?
Teachable Moment #3 — There’s a massive difference between an apology and making amends. The former serves to end a productive conversation; the latter changes the nature of the relationship to benefit both people. I’ve found that many people say, “I’m sorry” just to get you to stop talking, and nothing changes.
Teachable Moment #4 — If a client is complaining, it’s may already too late.
Next up was a Linkedin organic outreach program. Unbeknownst to us, there was an issue with our account manager. The next thing we know, the founder shows up himself on our scheduled call. He said the manager did something unacceptable and was dismissed.
Then he said, “I’m personally handling your account for the duration of our contract.”
Teachable Moment #5 — To instill trust and protect the company’s reputation, sometimes a Replaceable Founder must get on the front lines. The cool part is, any one of us can do this if we’ve done the work, to systematize our operations. You must always make time to right a wrong.
Lastly, we started using a data metrics company. They overbilled us accidentally for one hour ‘s work. It was like $154. To apologize for that mistake, they gave us a free month of coaching support, of which our COO will take great advantage.
It was a terrific way of handling a slight mistake. It’s the kind of thing that wows people and makes them want to recommend you.
Teachable Moment #6 — Going a bit overboard on a reparation, will be the story told about your company and it will be the very best kind of referral.
Now, I’m not perfect. We certainly make mistakes at Less Doing, but I try to be proactive when these issues come up, and these experiences have armed me with some great tools.
It’s like I say, “I can’t promise that I’ll always get it right, but I promise that I will make it right.”
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