Honesty with customers counts too!

Yup – honesty counts. I had to talk to a customer last week about a stuff up one of my guys did. SBS2000 server – we could VPN to the server but could not ping anything on the inside of the network, or access resources on the inside of the network. The network appeared to be running.

We could not see the issue. Lodged a case with PSS and after 3 weeks – the guy asked us to stop the “Trend Micro Personal Firewall Service”…. CLANG.  A few months back when my guy upgraded the customer from OfficeScan for SBS2000 to CSM Suite for SMB, he mistakenly downloaded and installed OfficeScan Corporate Edition which includes the personal firewall turned on by default. He installed this on the server also as is normal. We didn’t realise it was the wrong version as they look so similar and once PSS asked us to turn of that service we realised our mistake. The customer was not any less secure with our mistake one way or the other – it’s just that it stopped this VPN function from working properly.

So – what to do. I rang the customer – told him that we’ve made a mistake with his network configuration and that I wanted to send out a guy to resolve this in the next day or two – no charge of course. The customer was silent for a moment and then said “Wayne – Thanks for your honesty… I’ve not had anyone admit their mistake in the past. It’s good to see that your not afraid to admit when you do the wrong thing.”

Basically this was for us a customer building experience. The customer has greater confidence now than ever before in us and that he knows from the last 4 years of dealing with us that we’ve never made an error like that before. He can move on with confidence that we’ll be open and honest if we make a mistake in the future.

Why do I post this – I’m tired of consultants in the industry, certified partners etc that stuff up a system and can not admit that they’ve done the wrong thing by the customer.  It gives us all a bad name and makes the customer less trusting.  Like the stereotypical image of the used car salesman – nobody trusts him at all – always looking for the catch.  If you want your customers to trust you you’ve got to shake that image and ensure that your totally transparent with them.  If your a good reputable company then you’ll already be doing this. 

Care to share your experiences with us?

3 thoughts on “Honesty with customers counts too!

  1. Yeah. I’m not a fan of folks who blame others because of their mistake either. Good call on this one!

    PS. your human proof should not use the letter "O" or number "0" it’s frustrating that you can’t tell them apart!

  2. Wayne –

    It’s the only way to build client trust. If you simply paly the blame game, they’ll call someone else. We installed a new tape drive for a client back in September and they called last week to have us restore a file from their accounting system. Turns out that the tech who put the drive dropped the data drive from the backup scheme when he reassigned the drive. OK – so not only do they not have the accounting file, they now also know that the last 5 months of backups are also only partials. Turns out that I used to work for the accounting software firm and we came up with a way to rebuild the file with bits and pieces from other files (programming RAID?) and the file was back in place. However, the client was then stuck with a bill in excess of $1000 to have the file rebuilt. So what do you do? We paid it. Yes it’s a lot of money but it would cost us a lot more to lose that client.

  3. Fair play to you, sir!

    Good to see that there are others out there who play the game by the right rules instead of making things more difficult for all of us out there [and the end-users!]

    Agree in every way – have always been a great believer in that how you address a problem will always be a far greater differentiator between the good and bad guys than necessarily always getting it right in the first place. Honesty and showing the customer that you are putting their interests first gain customer loyalty that is beyond value.



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