(especially if something, as it almost always does, goes wrong)
During an internal chat about a completely unconnected story this week, it struck us that many companies in the UK, especially larger ones, all seemed to suffer from the same problem – blame avoidance culture.
What do we mean by this? It feels that the intrusion of social media into all aspects of our business life means that, not only are we becoming risk averse worrying about public ridicule, but also actively running away from taking responsibility for similar reasons.
This particular story we were discussing, was a tale of how a company employed a sub-contractor to complete a job, who in turn employed a sub-contractor to take over some critical parts of the work, who then took on a company to check and certify that their part of it was up to standard. As is almost guaranteed, shortly after completion of the work, problems and issues were found. Then started the merry-go-round of each company blaming every other company in the chain and stating that information was not correctly sent to person x or y (even though it probably was).
So in this scenario who is the loser, the company who employed the first sub-contracting company, or the ones employed to certify just the one part of the overall project? Well, in case you have not guessed, it is the customer. They are caught up in the whirlwind of social media published ‘statements’ and ‘counter statements’, all carefully written and each taking hours of staff time, to not accept and to gently pass on the blame, all without being seen to be doing just that.
Our original point now stands, how easy are you (read company) to deal with? As I am certain that, no matter how carefully the companies above published posts and statements are worded, the mud will eventually stick. If every company involved had taken responsibility for their work and if the original company had checked for themselves a bit more carefully at every stage, then perhaps this would never have happened.
Customer satisfaction and brand loyalty come not just from when things go well, although we should always strive for perfection, but equally importantly how you deal with complaints. Taking responsibility and being seen to genuinely want to work with the customer to put things right, can bring in far more long-term revenue through goodwill than it costs trying to avoid any short-term losses.
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