I recently experienced two instances where companies made mistakes that initially frustrated me, but handled them in a way that made me an even more loyal customer.
Mistake #1 – the M&I to BMO switch
I am a former M&I, current BMO, bank customer. I started banking with M&I because I had a great banker and enjoyed that relationship so much that both my personal and business accounts are there. Despite what you may have heard about M&I, I have always experienced great customer service. However, when M&I switched to BMO’s computer system, the transition did NOT go well. The switch occurred over a weekend. So, starting after work hours on Friday, there was no computer access to my bank accounts. This was not a problem because we were told to expect this downtime. The transition occurred on Saturday and Sunday, and Monday was a holiday. So, on Tuesday when the bank opened again, pretty much every M&I customer on earth tried to log into their account. This flooded the new computer system and nothing worked. Hold times for customer service were hours long, even in the middle of the night. This went on for days. How BMO did not anticipate this is beyond me. Eventually, it worked out and we gained access to our accounts. Then, last week, I received a letter of apology from BMO and a Starbucks gift card. I know it’s just a small token and if I divided the amount of the card by the hours we spent trying to straighten our online access out, we’d have earned about $0.02 per hour, but I appreciated it. At least they admitted they made a mistake.
Mistake #2 – a printing problem
A couple weeks ago, we had some brochures printed for a Clear Verve client in preparation for an event. It wasn’t exactly a rush, but the brochures were done with not much time to spare. Unfortunately, there was a mistake on one of the pages of the brochure, which we didn’t discover until the day before the event. The brochure had been cut incorrectly. Luckily, the printer brainstormed a solution, picked up the brochures, and delivered them the next day. Even though they made a mistake and (admittedly) caused us to panic, the way they jumped in and found a solution to the problem make me like working with them even more.
When you make a mistake, what do you do? Remember that sometimes making a mistake can be a great opportunity to showcase the amazing customer service skills we all like to brag about. Everyone makes mistakes, but those of us that handle them well can usually recover much more successfully.
Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve.
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