Dont Sell, Serve


Meltdowns happen so it would seem, and you would think from the number of public meltdowns of organisations, politicians and senior people that they are inevitable.


It would actually seem to me that the real reason for a meltdown is not the initiation of, or the primary cause of a problem but … the way its dealt with, the clumsy, take no responsibility, it’s not my fault kind of responses are bad enough but some are just plain unexplainably DUMB. I’m talking about the kind where the logic is ‘let’s tough it out, we’ve done nothing to be ashamed of’ those kind of responses.

Example of Wrong;

My company bought a new process oven, (we have few) it was a lot of money although the lowest cost offering at the time from a range of suppliers but we’d bought equipment from this supplier before and had no reason to think that this time it might go wrong. The oven came, was installed and leaked fume. Disaster for the health, safety and welfare of those who had to operate it and disaster from a production planning point of view. The cost of lost opportunity was massive, in fact bigger as it turned out than the cost of the new oven.

The oven eventually got fixed after several fraught meetings and we were compensated financially.

The reason it got bad was not that the oven didn’t work properly but the delay period of several weeks while the supply company tried to say that although they had designed the oven, had built the oven and installed the oven that actually it was us who were using it wrong that we were causing the oven to leak by filling it with product.

We eventually employed a specialist to assess the oven and they found a number of what turned out to be quite minor fixes that would make it work right. So the oven got fixed, we got some money back but we also lost some business and took a dent to our reputation.

The result was that I was going to order a second oven and spray booth from them but that order for nearly double the value went to an alternative supplier.

Example of Right;

I recently bought a new pair of spectacles which if you wear them you’ll know just how important they are for sight and to look good.

I went to pick them-up at the allotted time and date but they weren’t right, I just couldn’t see so well through them. No problem, they knew they’d made them wrong, had ordered-up the right lenses but wanted me to try them anyway just to be sure. I went back a couple of days later to pick-up the new correct glasses and was given not only my new glasses but a free pair of sunglasses as well with the correct lenses also.

Result, I will only ever go to that optician again, no questions about it I am a loyal customer who went on to buy a new case, some lens cleaner and tell anybody I can about my experience.

They treated me as a person, not just a customer. I’d already paid up-front so they could have just explained the problem and I’d have had to accept that. But no, they went that bit further and turned a problem into an opportunity to shine. Okay so there’s some free stuff involved, but they often run a promotion of buy one get one free and I could have just waited for the offer to come back on but I didn’t need the free pair and I’m guessing it wasn’t actually a big cost to provide them. It was the thought that counted.


Some research data;

Acquiring a new customer will cost about 5 times more than it does to hold onto an unhappy customer and in some industries this figure could be 500 times more costly.

FINNA advice is to make the call, pick up the phone and call the customer, it might not be a nice call to make but it’ll be better than the one where they tell you they’ve moved their business to a competitor and that’s if they actually bother to tell you at all. A simple, short telephone call will often prevent that loss of business.

FINNA regards making an apology as central to the customer experience, its human, it’s a gesture sure but it’s human. You will not be an organisation you will be a person.

Okay so this sounds like FINNA is saying put your customer first, sounds like but it isn’t so. FINNA categorically says put your employees first. The logic is really not hard to follow; how you treat your employees, how we treat each other is ultimately how we will treat our customers.

The single most effective way of getting your employees to meet yours and your customers’ needs is to offer unrequested help in something they are struggling with. Build into the help given the idea that you want your employee to be positive and most importantly to appreciate your customers who your organisation is trying it’s hardest to help. Helping should be a core, fundamental business strategy.

If you are able to help, you will not influence, helping people is one of your assets, use it well and often.

Being in business should really be treated as a way of being. Make your work environment a village, people know each other’s names, doors remain unlocked, lights are on, people care.

If you’re not helping someone out in some small unexpected way each day in your place of work you are not practicing being the best person you can be. It’s the small, unexpected ways you help that pay-off the biggest of dividends. These are the ways you make the biggest impact.

Thank you for reading.


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