Imagine your excitement: You just gave up your credit card info and plunked down money on a product from someone you’ve been following for a while, maybe even someone you’ve bought from before and really admire.
You’re enjoying that instant post-purchase euphoria — after all, THIS is the product you’ve been waiting for.
A week goes by. . .no product. ”It’s okay”, you tell yourself, “there’s a reason they call it ‘snail mail’ after all”.
Two weeks. . .no product. ”It will be here any day”, you tell yourself, excitement starting to wane just a little.
A month. . .still no product.
Now you’re getting worried. You email the company who tells you that it’s not quite finished or is at the printer’s and will ship in 2 weeks.
Another month goes by. . .no product and no communication.
Now you ask yourself: “Is there even a product?”
Another email to the company and another promise that it will ship in “2 weeks”.
Another month and still no product, no communication.
At some point, you start to lose faith. All the good will that this company/entrepreneur has built up through their ezine, Twitter and Facebook connecting, f’ree teleseminars, etc. is quickly dwindling.
All because someone didn’t plan properly (I’m assuming that when this happens, it’s not malicious and is simply a case of poor planning).
As a consumer, your options are simple:
1. Ask for a refund or
2. Write the company owner and ask for an update then decide whether to stick it out or ask for a refund
3. Decide how this will affect your relationship with the company going forward
As the business owner who created the product, you have a lot more work to do:
1. Start to repair the damage done to your, and your company’s, reputation by PERSONALLY emailing everyone affected with an apology and update (it’s the least you can do).
2. Offer your clients something for their inconvenience — a bonus product, a 15-minute call, whatever you feel is appropriate for the situation.
3. Ship the darn product — move Heaven and Earth to get that product priority mailed, at a minimum, immediately and with a note of apology.
4. Figure out what went wrong and fix it so it doesn’t happen again. . .ever! After all, you’ve spent countless hours building your reputation and now you need to repair it.
Many business owners frequently sell products before they’re finished — after all, it helps with the production and marketing costs and lets them know how much inventory to order.
Whether or not I agree with this practice, doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that if you choose to do this, you want to be sure you know the ACTUAL date of shipment and stay in frequent communication with your clients so they know what’s going on.
Make It Real — My Request to You
There’s so much talk about business owners being “authentic” and “in integrity” and that’s great — it makes us all feel warm and fuzzy inside.
However, there are times when the reality differs from the intent, no matter how good the intention was.
My request to you is to PLAN and remember Murphy’s Law and plan some time in for mishaps, delays, etc.
Practicing Extreme Client Care(tm) means underpromising and overdelivering whenever possible and it’s this which will gain you the love and trust of your clients.© Copyright 2009 Sandra P. Martini