I remember it like it was yesterday…I sold a $250,000 system to a customer who I had built a relationship with over several years. I was excited and eager to prove my company could deliver. Using a Return-On-Investment analysis I had created, I showed that his business would save over three times the investment in the new system in efficiencies and functionality. I had become a trusted adviser and friend to this customer.
Unfortunately, my company did not deliver. The functionality I was told we had did not work the way it was supposed to work. The installation was a mess and I had an unhappy customer. Now it was time to figure out how to recover from a bad delivery experience and show that we would make it right.
I wasn’t alone. Many sales professionals have dealt with delivery challenges. We occasionally find that our companies don’t deliver what we anticipate or at the level of service that we expect. When this happens, we have to do some damage control and try to maintain the relationship.
Here is a quick three-step process to help us recover when mistakes happen:
1) Evaluate – Understand what the challenges and issues are that caused the mistake, and what options you have to fix the problem.
2) Explain – When there is a problem, talk to your customer and explain the situation as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the last second, or worse yet, wait until they call you.
3) Exceed – Don’t just fix the problem but do one better. Assure the customer that what happened is not how your company does business. Figure out how you can go the extra mile to show you value the relationship.
When we stay in contact and show customers we care enough to be there for them when mistakes happen we build strong relationships and earn future business.
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