Mistake # 93: When things go wrong—run!

I am having a serious customer problem. Four people have spent the past seven days working on this account. Yes, we had mistakes. Yes we jumped into fix-it mode, changing procedures and the way we do things to better serve. But, there was a minor discrepancy — and not anything to do with what we delivered — where the customer became unglued (again. Screaming and threatening over the phone to us (again). The stress levels are at their highest. The nerves at their extremes. And we cannot, obviously, deliver to the best of this customer’s ability.

Tomorrow will be another packed day on dealing with with the continued madness. Here are a few suggestions I am trying to take:

(1) Don’t argue with the customer. Ever. Give facts and details on what took place the decisions made at the time. Take the blame no matter what.

(2) Compensate the customer for the poor experience (which we have already done).

(3) Change the approach immediately on procedures, performance, and how to reach your customer’s expectations.

(4) Identify who is the communicator to the customer. You? Your rep? Your CEO?

I’m about to say my Hail Mary’s for tomorrow…


Mistake # 92: Keep harassment to yourself

OMG, no! Even if you have second thoughts on if an incident is harassment, if you even have any inkling that you may have caused harassment, don’t, please don’t keep it to yourself.   It is absolutely the wrong thing to do. You need to fess up and talk to your supervisor or HR Director.  I’ve heard of one employee who thought that if he/she just waited to “clear things up” it will all go away. Well, it didn’t, and it only got worse.  And, because the employee did not talk to anyone about the incident, thinking it would “all go away” is what made the incident get to a boiling point.

There are several state government websites that define and advise on what happens when you have an employee who is conducting harassment of any types, or even if you, yourself, believe that you have been harassed.

Let’s just hope that none of us have to deal with these issues. Be respectful out there folks!

Coffee, anyone?

Mistake # 91: Ask for commission when there are no sales!

Yes, folks, you read that right. A sales rep did not hit quota four months out of the eight and wants commission or compensation changed in order to bring in more money. It’s sort of hard to believe. Now she is talking about getting a second job in order to make ends meet. Well, if she would just grow sales, she would make commission and all of us would be happy! Jeez!

Mistake # 90: Fail to turn in assignments to your manager

What happens when you don’t get specific projects turned in by your direct reports? I have a laundry list of at least ten specific requests to a sales rep, and he never turned these in. It’s beginning to mount. I’m addressing these with him next week.

How can someone do that? What happened in the previous jobs? Pathetic.

Mistake # 89: Make it up as you go!

This is an interesting one. I have a sales rep who put a quote together for a client – in the body of an email! No logo, no format, nothing. It did have a signature line for the client to sign. Honestly! I could scream!

Mistake # 88: Are you trustworthy?

I hope so. I mean, your company and what you do rely on the integrity you provide to your customers. Just think if you were perceived as another Bernie Madoff?!  Ugh!

In a recent article in CareerJournal.com, Stephen Covey stresses that you should (1) learn the skills that will earn you greater trust; and (2) don’t over promise what you can deliver. Particularly during these lean times with less resources and  short personnel, that is great advice.

Mistake # 87: Fail to fix a sales problem

I have a direct report who completely screwed up with a client. He just didn’t have the answers and instead of making sure someone was on the call to help answer the questions, he delayed and delayed, not knowing how to get the answers (or not looking) and after a week the customer calls the President and complains. So, I had to un-$@$#% the problem and  transferred the account over to someone else.  The customer is now a happy camper.

Fast Company provides a no-brainer way to fix a sales problem!