Two BIG Mistakes a Company Made That Caused Them to Lose My Business For GOOD!

Several months ago I decided to order ribbon in bulk online.  I use a fair amount of it in wrapping client gifts and decided to save some money by ordering it in bulk.  I did what most people do – I went online and searched for the ribbon I was looking for.  I found it a few different places, but one was significantly cheaper.  I did what most people do and ordered the cheapest one.  I knew it was the same brand and style no matter where I ordered it from.


Soon after I placed my order, I received an email saying that they keep their prices low by ordering in a larger quantity.  That meant that it would be several weeks before I received my order.  That made sense to me and the order wasn’t urgent.  I was willing to wait a few weeks. 


Days turned into weeks and I forgot about the order.  I was busy doing other things, trusting it would arrive.  Every once in a while I would remember the order, but would never remember to check on it when I was in front of my computer.  One day, knowing it had been much longer than they promised, I looked into it.  At that point, about 7 weeks had passed.  I inquired with the company and was told there was a delay from their supplier and it should be just a few more weeks.  I’m a patient person so I decided I could wait a few more weeks.


Soon I realized it had been 3 months since my original order!  I inquired again with the company, this time asking them to cancel my order and refund my money. 


Here are the two main things they did wrong that you can do right in your business:

  1. They didn’t communicate with me.
  2. They broke their promises.


Sometimes businesses fail to communicate.  It is usually done out of a failure to have a procedure in place.  Sometimes (especially with small businesses) it’s done out of fear of what the customer will say.  If they had kept me in the loop about why the delays were happening, I would have been more understanding.  Because they failed to communicate, it feels like they were hoping I would just forget about the order so they could take my money without giving me what I paid for.


Put procedures in place to give regular updates to clients.  Let them know the progress of their project and communicate any unforeseen delays and how you are handling them (without involving them in the headaches and drama).  If they can see that you are aware and in charge of what is happening, they will feel confident in your ability to resolve any issues.  They will be more willing to be patient through delays.  If the customer has to track you down for an update, you are no longer being a leader.


Over the course of my interaction with this company, they gave me a couple “promises” of when my order would ship.  When it didn’t ship and they didn’t communicate with me, it became a broken promise.  After a couple broken promises, I no longer believe what they tell me.  They lost my trust. 


If you make a promise to a client, keep it.  If you can’t, let them know why.  Failing to communicate and breaking promises erodes trust with your customers.  Most people are willing to give second chances, but if your business blows it more than once with no explanation, you are likely to lose clients. If your clients don’t trust you, they won’t do business with you. 


How about you?  Have you ever had a company break promises and fail to communicate with you?  What did you do?


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