Regardless of how many – or how few – individuals make up your organization, your company is not a faceless automaton. It’s not a perfect machine. Which means that, every now and again, something goes wrong.
Take your pick – airlines, home appliances, cars, computers – just about everyone has their own personal horror story about how they put their faith in a product or service, and how the company behind it let them down. Since we all know that bad news travels faster than good news, a company’s reputation can be hit pretty hard in a short space of time – especially with today’s far-reaching communication tools such as social media, blogs and so on.
No organization is perfect. There’s a human component, which means (now and again) your company makes mistakes.
And that’s OK.
Because, as I see it, it’s not about the fact that your company, your representatives, your employees (hey – even you) have made a mistake. It’s a fact of life – we all screw-up now and again. What’s important is what happens next.
Passengers need to be told why there’s a delay, and what’s being done about it. If there’s a hiccup in production scheduling or shipping, then your customer needs to know. Now. Your customer should be made aware of anything within their buying experience that could detrimentally alter their perception of your company.
Once you’ve told your customer, then they need to be kept informed on what you’re doing to make the problem go away. And they need to be kept informed frequently. If they have to contact you to get an update, then you’ve blown it and you’re on your way to becoming a new horror story that they’ll pass on.
Generally, as consumers we’re all a pretty forgiving bunch. We realize that, sometimes, things go awry. Stuff Happens. However, we don’t like uncertainty. We like to know what’s going to happen, even if it’s not when/how we would prefer it. Tell us that it’s gone wrong, why, and what you’re doing about it, and we can live with it. Keep us in the dark, however, and be prepared to become the next YouTube viral sensation.
It’s not about the mistake. It’s about how you deal with the mistake.