Not Our Fault

It is a sad but very true fact that oftentimes when you a call a company, they will take you through troubleshooting steps not to solve the problem, but instead, to point the blame to another company (or department).

Today I read an article about companies anticipating problems that aren’t actually their fault, but they have to deal with regardless. The article says “It’s not our fault, but it is still our problem.” For companies that try to blame other companies, keep that in mind.

It doesn’t matter if you did ship out the product and UPS lost it, or if you sent out the welcome email and the customer didn’t receive it, it is your problem to deal with for a few reasons:

  • The customer doesn’t have (access to) their product.
  • It is your product and your responsibility until the customer starts to use it.
  • The customer paid you and you have their money.

The article cites an example about Disney and their parking situation. It is common that people forget where they park when they visit one of Disney’s parks, but it is certainly not Disney’s fault. However, Disney has developed an effective and customer friendly process to help customers find their cars. Disney opens lots/areas of lots by time and can help customers narrow down where they parked using that system.

The article also cites some other common examples and how best to deal with them:

  • Being booked (for restaurants or other places that require reservations).
  • A credit card being declined. The example here is one I have never heard of, but a very good one.
  • Shipping problems/delays.
  • Defective products.
  • Unhappy customers (for other reasons). I have seen similar things done, but not this exactly. It is a very good idea that more companies should do.
  • Making a picky customer happy.
  • Dealing with running out of stock during a busy time.
  • Rejection (loan declined, etc.)
  • No/lost luggage.

The author, John DiJulius writes a lot about little things that collectively make a big difference. I have read his book and would say it is one of the better books on customer service out there.

What you have to do as a business owner or customer service professional is predict what problems there will be (especially the ones that happen frequently) and think of ways to deal with them. Turn the negative experience into a potential customer service success story. I’d suggest reading the article – it is definitely worth the time and provides some interesting examples and insight.

One Response to “Not Our Fault”

  1. Starbucker said:

    Sep 28, 06 at 6:30 pm

    Great link! I love this attitude about problems, and the examples given where great illustrations of how to be “World Class”. I’m spreading this around my organization, that’s for sure. Thanks.