As a business consultant, I have the opportunity to work with a lot of business leaders as they navigate their ways through the marketplace. I’ve got to admit: I am addicted to helping them fulfill their company visions, and thus, make myself available to answer questions and talk through challenges.
One thing I have encountered a number of times is the difficulty that exists around taking responsibility for certain issues that occur in and around the business. Granted – there are things, perhaps a number of things that lie outside the realm of a provider’s control. Here’s an example of what I mean:
While my wife was driving her car one day, she said she heard a loud BANG from under the hood, then the car began to sound like a motorcycle, and it just didn’t have as much power as it should. If you are a mechanic or mechanically inclined, you probably know that this was the result of a spark plug blowing out of the cylinder.
I did some research on this and learned that there was damage done to an internal part that had to be either repaired using a $175 tool (1 hour’s work for just the install) or replaced with a $399 part (install – $1,000, min). I decided that I would try to find someone to do the job on trade or for about $150, since I could disassemble and reassemble the area myself. I couldn’t find anyone with the kit and the knowhow, so I had the car sent to a local shop, where I expected to get a $200 bill for the work. They told me it would be nearly $500, which really burned me up.
However, after thinking about it, they would be taking responsibility for their work. They were giving me a full year warranty on the work and ensuring that the car runs the way it is right. The $150 install wasn’t giving me any assurances, other than making sure that the spark plug was installed. If the engine was damaged as a result of metal shavings getting into the pistons, if the shaft was damaged in the process or anything else related to the procedure, I would be looking at paying $1500 to have the damaged part replaced.
Best of intentions do not absolve responsibility.
As business leader, we need to be thinking in terms of taking responsibility for anything that could happen as a result of running our businesses. That means that we do things like set up safety procedures, back up plans, run what-if scenarios and get insurances. While there is expense associated with this, our clients are coming to us and our companies because we are essentially offering them assurances: we have the expertise, we’ll get the job done, right and they will be better off as a result of working with us. That’s why we hire consultants, attorneys and auto mechanics.
When things go wrong, whether in perception or in reality, we and our teams need to be prepared to handle them. Think it terms of this: even if you get away with getting away with something once or twice, you certainly won’t have that customer’s repeat business and you certainly won’t be building a solid reputation amongst your market.
That means that
- you discuss your concerns up front,
- ensure that you are prepared for the unknown and
- for some jobs, you simply step away and recommend a different solution or provider so your client can get the best results and perhaps do business with you in the future.
Accountability is foundational to customer service. Great customer service is foundational to running and growing an extraordinary business. Go Extraordinary. Plan for the unknown.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is an Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.
We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Specialty Consumer Services. As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.
If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].