Business · relationship

It’s Us Now*

Rage surged through telephone calls, fueled investigation, and focused into a terse blog post. It was glorious, horrible, energizing fury. The final break was coming on Monday.

Then it all changed.

Coming inside from reading a terrific book on a chair looking out over the lake, I found a voice mail from the owner of the service provider in question. It was a Saturday afternoon, so the timing of her call was surprising and heartening. Someone was taking my business seriously.

She explained what they were going to do. A few hours later, I had another message, from a different member of her team, reiterating the steps that they were going to take.

Then, they did what they said they were going to do.

A looming crisis in a business relationship can be averted using the same principles from early days:

  1. Prepare for the date. The owner knew all the information associated with my account as well as what her organization had done. She used this knowledge and her experience to demonstrate her commitment to retaining business. Driven to succeed, she took charge and took action.
  2. Show up fully. She apologized — simply and forthrightly — for failing to do what they promised to do. She proposed a solution that accommodated my requirements — and requested that I contact her directly to discuss it further.
  3. Give to give. The service offering was adjusted to meet both of our needs.The service person assigned to my business left the later voice mail that Saturday afternoon, repeating the proposed plan and asking for feedback.
  4. Be clear. The ownership apologized again and emphasized that she valued our relationship and my business.

There is a new step that I should include here. Later the following week, I contacted the service provider to thank them for doing what we had agreed upon. The service providers are considerate and prompt — and we accommodate one another’s small quirks. (I’m thinking it’s time that I bake them some chocolate chip cookies — and possibly time to post my own glowing review in customer rating land.)

It’s been a few weeks now and things are going smoothly. Service is on time, professional, exactly as promised.

Past our horrific start, we’re happier now than we’ve ever been.


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