You did it! No…you did it! No…you did it!

Looking like monkies

This Is What The Blame Game Looks Like

During this terrible oil crisis in the Gulf, we have certainly heard, seen and spoken about the most overt exhibition of the “blame game” that we have ever experienced.  While there are many opportunities for a blog post just on that subject alone, it brings to mind how in our everyday business dealings we must resist the temptation to look outside ourselves for reasons why something didn’t go well. 

Really…why would we want to look like these three monkies?!!

Best practices guide us to do certain problem solving first when a client does not receive what they expected, when a vendor ships the wrong product, if an expected service is incorrectly applied.  Our clients are extremely intelligent and know that something went wrong but they don’t necessarily care who’s fault it was…at least initially.  Wasting a client’s time is not only costly to them but will definitely impact your relationship with them in the future leaving you potentially a difficult time ahead solidifying your brand all over again.

When we talk about exceeding the expectations of our customers, we are including how you handle issues.  Anyone can handle business going smoothly…at least I would hope so…but the true test is, what do you hear, do and say when an issue arises.  You want your clients to have confidence that they are not concerned about the error because they know you are going to resolve it…PERIOD.  End of story. 

Before I decided to enter the Promotional Product business, I was in various Marketing positions and ordered advertising specialties for years.  Can’t tell you how many stories I got as to why it happened…the vendor did it, the secretary did it, I didn’t clearly state what I needed, there was a turnover in staff, someone was on vacation, etc.  Truly didn’t solve a thing.  After the problem was solved, I would be happy to listen to any explanation as to why we can take steps so that it wouldn’t happen again.  However, it serves no purpose whatsoever, to drone on and on blaming someone/anyone without solving the problem first.

A much better practice is to immediately take the client’s side meaning that their side is simply they did not receive what they expected.  Remember…we are talking about what they expected.  It may be exactly what they ordered but not what they expected!!  It doesn’t matter, at least YET, that they made the mistake.  What matters most is that you are going to immediately come up with some solution or solutions.  Extremely important to not put them on the defense.  We want them to continue to listen to us and hear what we are saying.  Just tell them you will check out what the next step will be for them to get what they actually need, timing, etc. and you will get back to them immediately.  Believe me…you are creating the “WOW” factor in their mind.

If it is your mistake…own up immediately.  However, do not dwell on it.  Again, you must advise them you will take whatever steps are necessary including cost to get this corrected.  Likewise, if it is a vendor error.  You and the vendor can work it out later.  Don’t waste time with calls back and forth to the vendor over the error.  Your client doesn’t care.

Retention is the name of the game in the continued success of your business.  The Blame Game is not compatable at all with retention.

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About Diane Meyer
Diane has more than 20 years in the corporate environment as Marketing Manager, Marketing Training Director, Advertising Manager and PR Manager for such companies as Celanese Corporation, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Kimberly-Clark Corporation and The Money Store. More recently she served as Executive Director of Community Health Campaign overseeing all the marketing efforts for 13 health agencies.

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