Recently, one of my clients recounted a breakdown with a customer that led to a deeper relationship and a strengthening of my client’s reputation. While the underlying issue did cause a problem for the customer, the way my client handled the breakdown demonstrated his company’s commitment to service and willingness to take full responsibility for mistakes. The customer also revealed information about the technical details behind the breakdown that told my client there were weaknesses in his delivery process that would predictably produce this sort of problem again if not addressed. By owning the issue, apologizing and offering a month of free service, my client increased the loyalty of his customer, gained valuable information about his process and more than likely extended a reputation for great service further out into his market.
Here’s a useful article that appeared today in the Wall Street Journal on this topic.