The purpose of starting a BUSINESS is to create a CUSTOMER. In business, the customer is always RIGHT and I have made my fair share of mistakes. Most of these mistakes were out of my control and turned out to be great lessons in the end. But in the END, I have always believe in the saying,“EXPERIENCE is the name we give to our MISTAKES.”
“Early is on time. On time – is late.”
I have always been a deadline oriented person. I do not like to slack! The Holiday Season of 2011 introduced me to face some certain mistakes/problems that were not mine in my business, but another one(s). But those mistakes affected my business customers so I had to handle them.
The US Postal Service this year disappointed me highly with a number of LOST orders to some customers. In the past, I’ve had customers respond with issues pertaining to damaged products but having customers questioning LOST/LATE/NOT FOUND products for Holiday gifts was a FIRST! I was very embarrassed and nervous getting the emails & phone calls, etc. I thought that this was the start of the negativity of The Art of Lax™. But there’s always a FIRST for everything. I also wondered how many people all over were affected by the sloppiness of the USPS? For a national organization (manifestly, Federal) currently hurting on money and cutting back on their staff, this was not a good way to get NEW BUSINESS and NEW CUSTOMERS!
“You have to SPEND MONEY to MAKE MONEY.”
I cursed the USPS! What kind of business model do they have? As much as I complained and worried about the US Postal Service, I knew that complaining was NOT going to get anything solved and that I had to solve the problems for my customers. I logged onto each customer’s order that was lost and repackaged all items requested. I was losing inventory and NOT making money in this. I did not return to the USPS, rather went to a direct competitor – UPS! The private business was VERY reliable, but it was also VERY expensive. The profit and loss comparison was alarming. I was losing money in this but these were my customers!
As the days approaching the Holiday Seasons came, I tracked the replacement orders and saw that they did arrive to their respective addresses. Soon enough, a few emails from customers waiting for the replacement orders came thanking me for the prompt action and service. I was very happy for them but going forward I started to question my future use of the US Postal Service vs. the pricey but reliable, UPS. These are just some of the many things that are questioned to change at some point.
As a business owner, you want everything to go right. However, when right goes wrong, sometimes you just got to jump into it cold–especially when it’s not your own fault. Looking back this was kind of a good problem to have happened, really. As business owners/entrepreneurs, if we didn’t have such problems or set-backs, then we wouldn’t be given the chance to re-invent ourselves and find solutions. Getting into hot water hurts, but hot water keeps you clean.
As I said in the beginning, that I am a deadline oriented person. Personally, the recent situation exposed something great. I have learned that in BUSINESS, sometimes the GREATEST form of MARKETING is displaying GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE.
The Art of Lax™ business/customer report card: