Crippled CEO Blog #101:
The Bible says:
“Love covers a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8
And I actually believe in this strongly. If you love someone, you can overlook flaws and forgive transgressions much easier.
But I have a business version of this that I often like to preach (get it? Preach?).
“Communication covers a multitude of sins.” – 1 Lupton 4:8
Most people think that customers get upset because of mistakes.
And to a certain extent, they do. No one likes mistakes.
But most people are reasonable, and they understand that sometimes manure occurs. Some people just want to be mad, and there’s nothing you can do about that, but most people are reasonable.
The majority of the time, when you have a very upset customer, when you have really sizzled someone’s fajita, it’s not the mistake that pisses them off, it’s the lack of communication.
Almost without fail, whenever a customer is so particularly perturbed that they are finally talking to me, some mistake occurred, but the real mortal sin (eh?!) was the radio silence that followed.
And this makes sense. Nobody wants to call the upset customer. When you know you’ve messed up, the last thing you want to do is dive into that situation and remind yourself of your error. And depending on the issue, there’s a chance you aren’t quite sure how to fix it. Uncertainty and procrastination go together like cheese and… literally everything.
People hate to be ignored — especially when they feel like they’ve been wronged. Lack of communication takes a level 2 problem and quickly ratchets it up to 11.
The good news is that the flipside is also true. If something goes wrong, but you go out of your way to be ridiculously communicative, and explain what’s going on, and keep them in the loop step by step as you resolve the problem, 987 times out of 1,000, you’ll still have a happy customer. In fact, they might like you MORE because of how well you handled things. How many 5 star reviews have you read that say something like: “They initially double booked my vagazzle appointment, but they let me know the day before, really worked with me to reschedule, gave me a free glitter upgrade, and were terrific when I finally went in. My hoo-ha now sparkles like a diamond. Highly recommend.”
If handled correctly, if you communicate, customers you screw up on can be transformed into your most enthusiastic evangelists. (You see how I used “evangelists” to tie it back into the Bible quote in the beginning? Does anyone appreciate the level of artistry happening in these things?!)
(You know who never wants to cover my sins? Your mom, that’s who. She also gets a text message from me each week with a link to the latest blog. You can also have this incredible luxury if you send a message to the phone number 484848 with the word CRIP as the message. You’re welcome.)