Friday, 18 April 2008

Communicating To Fix It

Tom Peters has some valuable things to say on the subject of communication. In a post on his blog yesterday he suggested the following action:

“Play back the last 24 or 48 hours. Is there an instance where you have failed to fully Inform a client, or other stakeholder, of a delay or glitch.?

If your answer is ‘nope, all is well’:
Fix it.

Make the call.”

Too many people hide behind emails when it comes to business communication; but picking up the ‘phone to a client to flag up a problem, to check they are happy or just get some feedback is critical. Like communication in any relationship, there is nothing worse than silence. When something goes wrong, but you don’t know what’s going on and there is zero communication.

As a consumer, I had some problems late last year with a fashion brand. I’d bought one of their t-shirts and the dye had stained my body and given me headaches. I emailed the CEO but apart from a replacement item they weren’t keen to take responsibility. They investigated the matter, tested the item but didn’t acknowledge that it had given me headaches. They considered the matter was closed. Then months passed and the other week I got a letter from one of their Directors, saying he was sorry the incident had caused distress and making a small offer to me. But I still wasn’t happy as I felt there were some important principles here and that the brand had breached its trust with the consumer, it had failed in its brand promise. Emails went back and forth, but we were going around in circles. Then yesterday evening the Director took the trouble to pick up the ‘phone to me and we spoke candidly about my concerns. I accepted his offer and closed the file on all this. And not because of his offer. But because he took the initiative to telephone me, because he sounded a decent bloke, because he accepted I’d had a very poor experience and because he wanted to restore my faith in his brand. He has now done that.

“He Fixed It”.

Too many corporations and brands become faceless in their dealings with the consumer. Good Old Fashioned Communication can make all the difference.


Tim said...

a great story and some lessons for us all there


Tim G

Anonymous said...

I just participated in an excellent program on leadership communication. I have a link to a clip from the program

Ian Sanders said...

Thanks for the link 'Anonymous'....