All For One, And One For All August 26, 2009Posted by Chuck Musciano in Random Musings.
Tags: Communication, Customer Service, Newspapers, Twitter, Users
I’ve been having a semi-regular delivery issue with a certain national daily publication. Every now and then, it does not arrive in my driveway. I dutifully go to their web site and note this oversight. The next day, I get two copies: the current issue and the previous day. Needless to say, getting a daily publication a day late is of limited value.
When this happened last week, I tweeted about it, and included the publication’s Twitter account in the tweet, along with two columnists who also happen to be on Twitter. It was a bit of an experiment, I’ll admit, but it was also a request for help. Would the power of Twitter help solve my problem?
Well, no. What I did get was a direct message from a columnist with the number of the customer service department, along with an explanation that the columnists have nothing to do with delivery.
I know that. I knew that when I included the columnists on the tweet. But they work for the publication, just like the delivery people. And in the end, they should be just as concerned that I get my paper as they are about writing their columns. When the delivery person makes a mistake, the columnist looks bad. When the columnists wrote a lousy column, the delivery people lose a bit of stature. They are all in this together.
This is just as true in our own companies. How often have you seen a group breathe a sigh of relief when they discover that “some other department” made a customer-visible error? I hate to burst their bubble, but they get painted by the broad brush of customer dissatisfaction right along with the group that made the mistake. The outside world does not know, or care, that some mistake occurred in a specific department. They only know that the whole group has caused them a problem.
When you make a mistake, you hurt the reputation of every single person who works with you, whether they are involved or not. That’s why mistakes are so expensive: not only did you inconvenience a customer, you damaged the standing of all of your co-workers. Did they deserve that? Did you think about that before doing your best to do a good job?
Fortunately, this works the other way as well. When you make someone happy, everyone in your team benefits whether they were involved or not. By making a customer feel good about your company (or department, or whatever), you improve the reputation of every person in that group. What a great way to help every person you work with, every day! Help a customer and make everyone look good!
The columnist dissociated themselves from the group that made a mistake, thinking that I would do the same. But like most customers, I view the Journal as a single entity. When my paper is late, they all decline a bit in my mind. But if the columnist had gone out of their way to help fix my problem, they all would have gone up in my book, from the deliver person to the editorial board.
We’re all in this together, all for one and one for all. Remember that when someone makes a mistake, and leverage it when you decide to do something good.
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