When things go wrong

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Robin Abbi


Filed under: mission
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Sometimes you can mess up in business and it turns out to be a net positive event. The paradox arises because when you make a mistake, you can either put yourself in your customers position, or choose not to. Your ability to apply empathy at the corporate level can turn a lose-lose into that mythical win-win.

A tiny problem

We are paying customers of a large number of the main accounting software houses.

A month or so past we had an admin problem with our account and we had to get in touch.

We cannot really say too much about the problem, but we were pretty sure it didn’t affect just us, but reflected a bug in the design of a key process at the accounting software house.

Although our issue was solved for us quickly and efficiently, we felt that we needed to make enough noise that someone would escalate the general problem to get it to a developer’s attention.

This week we got an email describing that work that had been done subsequent to our complaint to rectify the systems problem.

The net result of this experience has been a) yes, we had a problem, b) making a complaint was a painless experience and c) the handling of the complaint was exemplary.

Things do go wrong. Business processes are (at least for now) designed by human beings, even if they are run by computers, and they aren’t always perfect.

If you provide a flawless service, your customer might mention it to one other person.

If you cause a problem for your customer, they might tell ten other people.

But if you fix that problem and treat your customer with respect all the while, that customer will tell everyone they know how good you are, because you can be trusted to do the right thing.


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Written by

Robin Abbi

Founder of Bmbix