These days, as a provider of products and services in either a B2B or B2C scenario, you get very few chances before you blow it. If you’re in a commodity business, you get one chance. Mess up and you’re gone, even if you’ve had a good track record before your faux pas.

One strike and you’re out.

I’ve bought 3 shirts from an online discount store in the last 3 months. It’s the usual end-of-line strategy and stuff. The prices are good, and the quality of the product is decent. But the damn things take ages to arrive. Ages as in a month or more. And it’s tough to get customer service to respond, unless they’ve good news and can give you a tracking number. I haven’t got my last item yet…when I do I’m not using them again.

Years and years ago, when I lived in Scotland’s capital, I used to go to a local fast food place for fish and chips or pizza. One time I got a chicken pizza. I was ill with food poisoning that night and the whole of the next day. Never went there again. Did I tell them about my experiences? I can’t actually remember, but I voted with my feet.

I’m not the type of person who goes back looking to get a refund or compensation – life’s too short. I simply shop elsewhere. And don’t forget that we typically tell 3 times as many people about a bad experience as we do after a good one.

This is why, as a business, you must have a relentless and constant focus on quality, end-to-end. The thread can be that fine.

Along with trench warfare mentality, it’s a good mindset to imagine that you only have one chance to impress with every customer, every time.