The Value In Owning Up To Your Mistakes
It’s not always easy to admit when you’ve made a mistake. But in the long run it can lead you down an unexpected path of success. Especially when you’re in the customer service industry.
We recently had work done to the exterior of their home. The project gave us the opportunity to experience things from the client’s point of view. This was exciting since, as a small business, we’re typically always on the other side of this exchange.
When a few complications arose on the project, we were reminded of how much we value owning up to mistakes with our clients. In sharing this story, we hope to remind our clients of how much we value being upfront and honest with them. Especially in instances where we may not have seen the mistake at first.
The Back Story
This year the Fulop family faced a large expense: the installation of a new roof. The company we worked with fulfilled the main part of their obligation, which was new shingles and gutters. However, the “curb appeal” part they committed to was not done correctly.
Throughout the entire process, we clearly communicated what we wanted done with the Eave and Roof Line on the front of our house (right). This included sharing photos, describing what we had envisioned, and clearly showing the installers what we wanted to be done.
These diagrammed visuals were shown multiple times to the owners of the company. In addition, they were shown to the Project Manager, who was assigned to stop in on occasion as the work was being done over the span of a week.
As the final curb appeal “build-out” to the roof was evolving, I could see that it was not ending up like what I had asked for (and had waited 20 years for).
I tried to communicate with the workers, but the language barrier proved to be too difficult to navigate. So I texted the owners of the company to alert them that the work was not being done correctly and they told me they had no idea what I was talking about. Thankfully, I was able to produce dated screenshots of our text exchange that showed what I wanted was clearly not what they had produced. But as I shared these photos with them, I was only met with silence.
I was stunned. After investing $25,000 into this project, I expected better customer service from them. This company in particular is also a small business so I assumed they would treat me similar to how we treat our My Custom Closet clients.
But as I continued to express my disappointment in the outcome of the project (left), the owners turned on me and said that ultimately it was too late to fix it. That at this point, “it is what it is.”
There are some other details that I will leave out for the sake of not boring you, but in the end, there was no acknowledgment from the owners that they made a mistake. They refused to call me or come out to see what was incorrect. They didn’t take responsibility for completing the project incorrectly. And they didn’t try to offer a Plan B (right). They did absolutely nothing!
I know I could have threatened them with posting a bad review on the internet. But I also know that this wouldn’t solve the problem. It’s also not my personality type to do such things and I ultimately needed to just “move past” this.
I do believe in karma so at some point this kind of poor customer service will catch up to them. It has already started since they lost our business in the future. I know that new siding will be good to have someday (even though it’s another $40,000 project) but we will definitely not work with them.
I think that apologizing and trying to make amends goes incredibly far with relationships. Regardless if it’s with family, friends, or between clients and business owners. Humbling yourself, owning up, and listening says that:
- I respect and appreciate you.
- I want to be honest and correct my mistakes.
- I would like to continue my relationship with you. So when we part ways, for now, I want to make sure there are positive feelings and we’re both happy with the outcome.
My Custom Closet Values
We have been a family-owned and operated custom closet business for 20 years now. We take pride in our work and customer service. A big part of this is being able to look a customer in the eye (or call them on the phone if needed, not just texting or emailing) when we know that a client may be disappointed.
We talk about whatever may have gone wrong, we own up to our mistakes, and we correct them. If we have inconvenienced someone we may even offer a special discount or gift card.
We pride ourselves on being upfront, honest, and humble. We do our best to come back, numerous times if needed, until we get the job correct or to the satisfaction of our client.
Sometimes this means we lose money. Sometimes it can be an inconvenience when our personal lives are so busy and we need to travel out to a client’s home again unexpectedly. In the end, we believe this is the right thing to do. By establishing these values in our customer service, we can go to bed at night feeling good knowing we are trying our best and that our customers know this too.
This blog is unique to our website. Admittedly it was a way for me to vent. But it was also to let you know, as potential customers, that we stand by our work. And that if we make mistakes, we will come out and fix them.
Sometimes your design vision may not be what ours is, but in the end, the customer is always right.
Interested in experiencing this kind of customer service for yourself? Contact My Custom Closet today for a free quote.