The quote “making mistakes is better than faking perfections” perfectly sums up two completely different service outcomes I’ve recently experienced from MiWay Insurance and Kalahari.com.
From time to time we all experience problems with service providers. Running a business is not easy and mistakes can and do happen. I make mistakes sometimes. We work in a highly complex field and sometimes those working in our business make mistakes too.
As a result, I’m mindful to foster the kind of environment at work that accepts at least some mistakes as inevitable. I could think of little worse than running a company with a corporate culture that creates so much fear around making mistakes that nobody will take accountability for the odd bump and scrape.
In dealing with problems with larger national suppliers, I’ve found Hello Peter to be a valuable tool in extracting fast and efficient service from companies who care about their reputation. I’m assuming that all companies can and should care about their reputation and will move to protect it as best they can when a complaint is made in public or online.
MiWay insurance made a mistake. I cancelled my short term policy with them a few months back. For some inexplicable reason they ran a debit order on my bank account this month. I whined like an Australian losing a rugby match on Hello Peter.
The result was almost instantaneous. I received a service call from a some kind of senior insurance consultant. He cracked a joke about no Christmas bonus. I said perhaps Christmas should be scrapped. He said it was all his fault. I said I understand mistakes happen. He said he was annoyed with himself because he was a senior consultant and he should have known better. I said I make mistakes too. He said he would fix the problem. I said that’s great, all the best to you. The problem was resolved in a day or two.
Good for you Mr Senior Consultant. The next time I make a mistake myself, I hope to handle the problem as well as you did. May you receive a double Christmas bonus this year and an extra large shot of Bells at New Year.
Here is why:
- He cracked a joke to ease the tension
- He accepted there was a problem
- He accepted full accountability for the problem personally
- He resolved to fix the problem
- He made sure the problem was fixed
Three free glasses of “link juice” for you SEO efforts, MiWay.
By contrast, I’ve just had an awful service experience with Kalahari.com.
My much prettier better half, Heather Cotton, purchased a tablet from Kalahari online and made payment directly via EFT with a reference number and emailing them the proof of payment.
- The item did not arrive
- Nor did any notification that anything was wrong with the order
- She tried to call but none of her calls were answered
- She sent an email and was advised that a proof of payment should be sent (again)
- Additional proof of payment was sent
- Item still did not arrive nor further correspondence
- She followed up again via email
- The order was “cancelled” due to non payment
At this point, I got involved and whined on Hello Peter again.
This time with a remarkably different result:
- I received a missed call from a Kalahari representative.
- No number was left on the message service so I could not call them back.
- Worse, the Cape Town number my cell phone recorded “did not exist”
- I also tried and failed to contact Kalahari on their listed numbers
- The Kalahari representative lied when she thanked me for “time earlier today” – like we had a conversation or something in an effort to resolve the problem.
- The Kalahari representative ducked responsibility for the matter by saying someone else was dealing with the matter
- No doubt the person “dealing” with the matter is the same person who decided it better to cancel the order
- The person “dealing” with the matter also wanted to refund the cancelled payment to E-Bucks instead of in cash because that was how they were paid (not)
- The matter was simply closed on their system even though it was not resolved
I fixed the problem by purchasing the same item again at Kalahari’s competitor, www.takealot.co.za. (one free glass of SEO link juice for you too).
“Making mistakes is better than faking perfections”. MiWay genuinely made a mistake and resolved it, genuinely. By contrast, Kalahari tried to fake perfection by lying, hiding behind procedure and ultimately alienating two otherwise loyal customers.
Have we dropped the ball? Have we not got back to you one something? Are you a supplier that we owe money to?
Contact me, Alistair Cotton directly and I’ll follow-up on your query personally:
Tel: 033 343 3995
Cell: 072 219 5297