Archives for posts with tag: Reputation

I want to revisit the theme of an erstwhile post on how I often give businesses one chance and then they’re gone. When you think about it, it’s no chances, as their first slip up is their last. One chance would be their second chance. Anyway, with the irony of the blog title behind me, let me tell you a story.

I used to have almost all my insurances with one company: houses, cars, even tyres. I’d inherited them as a supplier from my Dad. Anyway, one day I had a car accident. A tourist driving a hire car in front of me and my boss – we were heading to hit some balls one lunchtime – missed his roundabout turn-off for the motorway, took the next turn, which was also ours, went 10 yards and attempted an immediate u-turn, forcing me to take evasive action and break my suspension on the far kerb.

The tourist admitted no blame – in fact he said .’you did not see me?’ – we exchanged details and so began a sorry saga which took months to resolve. My boss was not deemed an independent witness, I provided all the information I could, and ended up chasing the insurance company’s insurance company to try and resolve it. The last time I phoned I was told, ‘oh we’ve already settled the claim 50-50 with the other driver’s insurance company.’ I was furious, not at the injustice of the other driver lying, since many people will lie and cheat to get out of something, but at the fact that my insurer had let me down as a customer and failed to even let me know the result of the case.

I immediately cancelled all of my insurance policies with them. Their customer service team called me back, stuck to their version of events and that was that. It was like dealing with an enormous slippery snake, with staff hiding under its slithery skin.

Once chance – and gone.

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.