February 30th Newsletter
Shortly after I woke up this morning, February 30th (also known as March 2), I realized that I failed to publish my monthly newsletter. Since April 2006 I have never missed a month and somehow February went flying by. Maybe it was the 28 days or maybe the excitement of The Blue Note Cup (youth hockey playoffs) this past weekend. Whatever it was, I missed. A few hours later, almost as if on cue, I got customer service guru, Shep Hyken’s blog post, Never, Never, Never Be Late.
Shep is right. Sometimes “stuff” happens and despite your best efforts, you miss a deadline. The real question is: How do you, or how does your business, respond to such occasions? And how frequently does it happen?
If either you or your business are late on a regular basis then there is a systemic problem. In that case, there is only one answer. Fix the underlying problem. No amount of apologizing can make up for consistent poor performance. Solving the problem is going to show up on your financial statements as either increased revenue or lower costs in the long run. Probably both. The amount of time and energy spent managing poor performance pales in comparison to fixing the problem and getting it right the first time. And few customers will tolerate perpetual lateness.
On the other hand, if you have a consistent record of on time performance, deal with issue of being late once in a while head on. Don’t dance around the issue. Contact the inconvenienced party as soon as possible. My recommendation is to do it in as personal a way as possible and in the way they like to communicate best. That might mean a call, text, personal visit or email. Or perhaps several of those. Give them the truth as you know it at that time. Tell them what you are doing to resolve the issue. Provide a new ETA. Be empathetic.
To this day I remember a time when I called Domino’s Pizza because they missed their delivery time frame. Frankly, I was hangry. But the woman on the other end of the phone was so nice it was impossible to be anything but nice in return. She acted like my late pizza was the biggest tragedy that had ever befallen anyone! After a minute with her, I was still hungry but no longer angry. And she got a pizza out to me as soon as possible.
What’s your on time percentage? For these monthly newsletters, mine is 99.4764%. Not perfect but still pretty good. I guess I could blame February . . . two more days and I would have made it!
If your business could benefit from fractional CFO services, I would welcome the chance to speak with you. Please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to [email protected]
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