Occasionally, I pass along when an organization or individual fails to live up to what a customer has a right to reasonably expect in terms of the delivery of service.
This post is about someone who did not fulfill what was promised to a customer, and failed miserably to create the type of customer experience that I write and talk about.
Unfortunately, the person who screwed it up…was me.
About Christmas time, our company received an order for a personalized “Create Distinction” book and custom video on the topic of creating clarity in the marketplace. We accepted the order…we billed the credit card…and then failed to deliver as promised.
There’s no excuse…I got so busy taking care of our big clients that I didn’t block the time required to take care of this single customer. We weren’t too busy to process the payment — but, I didn’t discipline myself to get the video produced.
Where do we stand now? I’ve sent the video — both the link for a streaming version and on a flash drive — to our customer. I’ve signed a book for him, as well, to complete our product commitment, In addition, I’ve apologized via both email and a handwritten letter. And, naturally, I wrote a check to refund his purchase in full.
In addition, I’ve committed to providing him a first edition copy of my next book — to be released this summer. We will also be launching a comprehensive virtual training platform very shortly, and he will have a three month membership with our compliments.
While I’m certain that he would have rather had his order completed on time as promised, my hope is that our delivery of almost triple the value of his order and total refund of his purchase can display my sincere apology. I know that, “Customers don’t want you to make it right — they want you to get it right,” as I often say. However, I didn’t get it right — so I want to do what I can to make it right to a customer who put his trust in me.
Why am I sharing this? Well, it’s not easy for me to do, that’s for certain — however, there are two critical lessons that I’ve learned and that I want to share.
First, it’s easy to chase the big clients and fail to prioritize your efforts properly. A deal is a deal — and my commitment to one customer should be exactly the same as my commitment to big clients once a promise is made. Let’s face it, once you make a promise, it shouldn’t matter whether it’s for $90 or $90,000. If you’ve made a commitment to deliver, then get it done.
Second, it’s easier to talk about customer service than it is to deliver customer service. While this has never happened before in three decades of business — and, I intend that it will never happen again — I realize that once is one time too many.
I don’t have any right to criticize others when they don’t deliver, and then keep it a secret when I come up short in my own performance.