While out of the office earlier this week, I picked up an email on my phone letting me know that I had received a letter from a customer. Immediate reaction – something’s gone wrong!
How pleased I was to read an extremely pleasant letter congratulating us on a job well done. The letter went on to highlight the fact that our perfomance had been measured on how well we had reacted to a difficult start to the project. To quote “The true value of a company, and the reputation it has, can often only be measured when things go wrong and how the company deals with the situation.”
Now, you can probably read into this that we didn’t exactly cover ourselves with glory early in the project but two key actions saved the day. First, we put our hands up and advised the customer we had made a mistake with the initial software proposed for them. We were wrong and we would now redouble our efforts to put things right. And second, we delivered on that promise such that the customer is now doubly impressed with us.
We all make mistakes and doing the right thing, being honest and accepting the blame is the best starting point for sorting things out. However, it is a sign of the times that so few customers do stop and sit down to write a well constructed letter, never mind a brief thank you note for a job well done.