Here is a guest post from a fellow Nigerian Entrepreneur who writes and practices entrepreneurship. He shares a personal experience which illustrates the importance of having a contingency plan for taking care of your clients when you fail to deliver on your promise. Please, do visit his website Mk Akan to get more business and blogging tips and other resources for free. Enjoy! – NaijaEcash
What Customers Want When You Don’t Deliver
There are situations when the best companies and businesses fail to deliver. It does happen and all the time.
It happens in online businesses and offline businesses. It happens online when you do a launch, offline in customer care, offline in delivery and in any department you can think of. So when it happens what do you do? What should you do?
Let me tell you a little story.
Sometimes when I am far way from my PC and internet access, I do head to a cyber café to get stuff done online. One day, I dashed into a cyber café. The management had obviously done a great job. They had flat screen monitors, all well arranged with great furniture.
They had functional air conditioner, God, I was so happy. Now I could just cool off and surf the web. I paid for one hour, it was quite costly but, in my mind, it was well worth it.
I sat on the PC close to the air-conditioner and started working. 18 minute later, the unexpected happened. There was a power cut. (Sudden power outage is almost normal so I was not shocked) .
The people in charge scrambled to the back of the building to start the power generator. I was still working thankful that management had thought it good to get UPS (unlimited power supply) and that the power generator would be on in no time.
I was wrong.
10 minutes later, the power generating set wasn’t on and the UPS were not beeping any more. They were screaming, a sign that meant- I gonna go off in seconds”. I was in the middle of something. There was nothing I could do than hope that power would come on.
Then suddenly, it happened, what I feared happened. The UPSes started going off one by one. Mine was the 3rd to go off. Everything I was working on in the last 20 minutes was gone.
All I was doing was gone.
Seconds later, the power came back because they finally put on the generator. One of the workers came in and started putting on the computers. He excused me and put mine on too. After powering up the computers, he left without a word!
I was vexed. I stood up and went to complain at the customer desk.
“I was doing something very important and now I have lost everything” I told the attendant.
“It is not our fault, he replied, there was a power cut and we could not put the power generator in time”. I kept complaining hoping for something to calm me down, they gave me none.
I was very annoyed, it showed on my face.
Even though, I knew about the problem of incessant power cuts, and I knew that mechanical devices like power generator sometimes have problems. Even though I know we are all humans, we sometimes fail in our promise and that things sometimes happen and does not go according to plan. yet I expected a better treatment form that cybercafe than what I got. That brings up the question I want to ask you.
How do you treat your customers when you fail to deliver?
Sometimes the customer just needs you to feel his pain. To sympathize or empathize with him/her.
In the Case above, the attendant or people in charged should have had done any of the following, and I would have been pacified.
He would have apologized after the power cut, apologize when he came to on the PC. Simply saying “please we are sorry for the problem, there was a power out and we could not on the generator in time” would have done the magic. I would have felt better.
I would have been happier if he came up to say “sorry for the delay…blah, blah, we will add 10 minute to your remaining time”. He didn’t.
My satisfaction wasn’t their concern. They took my money and failed in their service. My money was more important to them than my satisfaction. They forgot that, “you are not in business to make money, you are in business to serve people and give them satisfaction” after satisfying them, money comes.
Solve the problem:
Yep, solve it. I may forgive you when you slip once, we may forgive you again if it happens another time, but if keeps happening again, we will just avoid you and your business.
We don’t want to hear your sob stories, we won’t tolerate it. Just fix the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again. People pay for quality service or product, not sorry tales!
Do you plan for these unexpected occurrences? How do you handle your inability to deliver on your promise?
Do you have a compensation plan for your customer when you fail to deliver? I’ll surely like to hear your views.
Thank you for your comments.
Mk Akan is an entrepreneur, blogger and publisher of the FastClick, a web-centric magazine published in Nigeria. He blogs at www.MkAkan.com