by Matt Weik
Gone are the days where someone’s word actually means something. Do you remember those days? The ones where people would say they were going to do something and… ACTUALLY followed through? Here’s a news flash – while your word may mean nothing in today’s age, it means everything to the success of your brand and business. Brands that don’t follow through ultimately lose in the end.
There Are No Excuses
If you own a company, you need to be sure you’re not one of those brands that don’t follow through. There’s no excuse to blame it on your employees or staff. You can’t blame things on being too busy. You can’t blame things on inventory issues. The bottom line is, the words that come out of your mouth, you can never take them back. You can apologize until you are blue in the face. But if you don’t follow through, you’ll never see that customer ever again.
Here is the perfect example (and it’s happened to me more than once). A brand reaches out to me and wants me to try some of their products. They want my honest opinion and if I like the product to tell my friends and family about the product(s) and brand. I like trying new things and curiosity gets the best of me so I accept. I provide them with all the information they need and wait.
One week goes by. Two weeks go by. Three weeks go by. Not a thing has shown up on my doorstep. So, I decided to reach back out thinking maybe snail mail is still crawling or maybe it got lost/damaged in transit. I ask them for tracking to ensure it isn’t lost as I want to make sure they are sitting there thinking I’m the one not following through by sending them my feedback. What happens next is the kiss of death.
Excuses. One after the other. Someone never entered the sample order in. We ran out of the product. Or the old “let me check the tracking” and I never hear from you again. Guess what? Instead of me giving you feedback on the products, instead, anyone who asks about your brand I’m going to tell them to stay away because you don’t know how to run your business and are one of those brands that don’t follow through. It drives me nuts. You only get one opportunity for a good first impression and if you don’t follow through, you lost your opportunity.
If I can’t trust you to send out samples (one of the easiest things you can do all day long when running your business) that YOU reached out to me about, how am I supposed to trust your business and what’s in your product(s)? I’m not going to chase you for samples, I will just dismiss it, move on, and won’t do business with you. I have people banging on my door all day long. I’ll go recommend one of those brands to my clients instead of yours.
The sad thing is, overall, in the end, I’m left with a bad taste in my mouth. You see, you may not think your word means much but it does. It weighs a ton and it can make or break your business. Those brands, they have forever lost me as a customer. I don’t respect people or brands that don’t follow through. I’m a man of my word and when I tell you I’m going to do something, I do it. And I expect the same back from people. These experiences if they’ve happened to me, you can bet the same brands have done the same thing to others as well. It’s poor business practices and in the end, it will come back to hurt their business. Don’t open your mouth if you can’t deliver.
Customer Service Can Make or Break You
This same principle needs to be upheld by your customer service department. I’m not saying you need to hire rocket scientists to handle customer service but they should at least be empathetic to customers and prospects as well as courteous. They need to abide by the same rule that they shouldn’t say something if they don’t intend on following through.
Customer service representatives are literally the firefighters of your business. When something comes across on the phone or email that needs to be fixed, managed, handled, or de-escalated, they are the ones who are asked to handle the job. They are the ones putting out the fires. If you have someone who is consistently rude, unwilling to help, and negative on the phone or in emails, they need to be removed from your company.
Here is the scary part about putting the fate of your business in the hands of customer service. You’re giving them the power to solve problems (most of them at least). If they don’t follow through and you don’t know they didn’t, you’re going to be left with the mess that ensues. This could be anything from irate phone calls asking to speak with the owner or manager or even a nasty comment made on social media that went viral.
Brands that don’t follow through will feel the wrath of disappointed customers. Now, I’m not saying the customer is always right but if you tell them you’re going to do something, you better do it. If the customer has a bad experience (especially a bad first experience) you better make sure that you fix it because if your name comes up in conversation, they could very well retell the story of how you treated them and that your brand didn’t follow through.
Have you had an experience where you encountered brands that don’t follow through? What happened? Did they never take care of the issue so you never did business with them again? Or, did they make it right, correct the situation, and respect the business for the way they handled it and took care of you? Let us know down in the comments.