Have you ever had a company you bought something make a mistake on your order? Most of us have.

How a company handles the mistake they make can make or break the relationship they have with you.
Now not all customers are understanding when a mistake is made - they figure that everyone should be perfect and that is just a non human concept - no one gets it right all of the time, but when a company makes a mistake if they own up to it right away and say OH, crap...sorry what can we do to fix this or make this rotten situation better - well they generally earn your respect.  If they argue with you or try to shuffle the blame - after you get your order rectified - they will probably never see the backside of you again.

As a business owner and a consumer I have been on both sides of this fence. As a business owner I do my best for my customers, I do not always get it right but I do my best to make sure that when an oops happens it is rectified right away and find creative solutions to the issue at hand.

Sometimes I am both the business owner and the consumer - relying on a contractor to deliver a product to me that I have designed/created to be delivered to me the way I ordered it and on time.

Sometimes stuff goes sideways on the contractors end of this, a break down in communication, a shipping company that messes up, there are so many variables in attempting to live up to your word.

I have had companies argue with me even when I have provided them with absolute proof that I did not make the mistake or error, other times I have had to eat crow - for me, the relationship I want in business and as a consumer is one that makes me feel wanted and valued.

I need insurance for the upcoming trade show season and to buy it from the show people's insurance companies is nothing short of rape, I also needed a quote for general liability insurance for the business as a whole. So I put out emails to several companies for quotes. Yesterday I got an phone call from an insurance broker for an insurance brokerage house called KTX in Ontario answering my query. After a couple of questions about my business the gent sent me an email with an application.

After puzzling over how to fill this thing out, I emailed him asking for help to understand the form. I got a rather kurt response saying it was a general media form and that some sections might not apply to me, but no help with figuring out what did and did not apply to me. I sent another email asking for help.

In the meantime another broker contacted me, asked me a ton of questions and submitted the applications for quotes on my behalf. I am supposed to have answers from them today.  So I emailed the gentleman back from KTX and let him know that I would be working with a different broker, one that was willing to answer my questions and help me fill out forms, the response I got from him FLOORED ME...

"OK, sorry. The office here is unusually busy with existing clients at the moment, we need to give them priority at this time."

Great way to make someone feel wanted and valued as a potential customer, thanks for wasting my time.

Why not, during that first conversation tell me right up front "we are swamped and under staffed and can not take on new clients right now - here are some other houses that might be able to give you the attention and assistance you will need"...I would have respected and remembered him the next time I was in the market - now I will for sure remember him but not because I respect him.

You see once a brokerage house starts work on your behalf no one else is allowed to get quotes from the companies that they do - its a conflict - so thank the good lord I did not send him the application because I would not have gotten insurance anywhere else. 

Now on the side where I have dropped the ball - I got an email from someone who ordered a remembrance patch - he had actually ordered two but I had a platinum blonde moment, and mixed his order for two up with another order for one. I got an email asking me to check on the situation - I told the man the truth - pick me I messed that up - I filled a lot of orders and I screwed yours up - I will get the other patch on it's way - right hope is that the gent understands that I am human, messed up and will fix it to the best of my ability...that I value him, because I do.

Customer service is about value and relationships, you have to place value on your customers both existing and potential cause if you don't you will never have the chance to build a real relationship with them and keep earning their business or trust.

I would love to hear your thoughts on customer service - tell me about your great customer service stories and how someone took a lemon and made lemonade for you when stuff went sideways....cause you know what - every time you share with me - I learn something really valuable that helps me become better at what I do.

There are some interesting articles in the news feeds today, I leave you to go explore them for yourself over at

Before I sign off, here are a couple of funnies from around the net and from friends over on Facebook and by email that brightened my day - hope they will brighten yours too...

Have a fantastic Friday and a wonderful weekend...
Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

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