“I’m sorry the delivery is late, but….”
“I know this didn’t turn out the way you ordered it, but….”
As entrepreneurs, we have all been in situations when we have been unable to meet our customers’ expectations.
You may have been counting on suppliers who did not deliver to you on time or with the products you ordered. Maybe your workers did not show up on time or quit in the middle of a job. Or maybe you may have had a sudden influx of business or an unusually big job that you just did not expect and you and your employees just can’t keep up.
However, it is important to remember that you are the one who picked those suppliers. You hired and trained those workers. You accepted all of that extra work.
Explaining why you did not meet the expectations of your customers with excuses does not build trust and confidence with customers. While there may be reasons behind your failure to meet their expectations, customers generally do not want to hear about your problems. What they want is for you to do what you have said you would do, and do it when you said you would. If you can’t, they expect you to make it right.
Think of it from the customer’s perspective. Blaming bad customer service on your supplier or your employees communicates to your customers that you are less than competent. It is your business, so whatever goes on within it ultimately reflects on you.
Even worse, telling a customer that the reason you could not deliver as promised is due to taking care of another customer, communicates that their business is less important to you.
The importance of taking full responsibility and acting with integrity with your customers is important any time, but it has become critical during the ongoing Great Recession.
Recent surveys conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business suggest that weak sales are is the single biggest challenge facing small business owners during the recession. Since the forecasts of most economists call for a continuing sluggish economy for some time to come, taking steps to attract and keep will continue to be a significant challenge for entrepreneurs. Not meeting customers’ expectations or telling them that their business is less important certainly is not wise when operating in an economy where customers and the revenues they create are increasingly hard to come by.
Taking full responsibility with customers builds confidence in you and your business. Making each customer feel like their business is always the most important builds loyalty. Building confidence and loyalty in customers is essential for surviving the continuing recession and thriving when the economy finally does recover.
When things go wrong with a customer offer no “but’s” and no excuses. Be honest, take full responsibility, and tell what you intend to do to make it right.