“You will only get once chance to disappoint a customer; even if the mistake is inadvertent, you may still not get a second chance”.
Above is a quote I heard from a Sales conference many years ago. It basically means that if a Sales Person makes a promise to a customer, do your best to fulfil it as a deliberate disappointment may lead your long-time customer to become another Sales Person’s client.
A friend told my wife and I a story about the packets of handkerchiefs he used to buy while in traffic when he was living in an African country. According to him, some young men sold packets of white handkerchiefs in the traffic and would run after your car to sell their goods. And since he used a lot of handkerchiefs, he made it a point to always buy from those struggling guys and ladies in traffic as against buying from the malls.
Then, he bought a particular pack that soured the whole handkerchief buying experience. As usual, he bought the pack in traffic, only to get home to realise that the top and bottom handkerchiefs in the pack were the only ones of good quality; the remaining handkerchiefs in the pack were of very poor quality. He had been scammed.
According to him, the challenge of buying goods from struggling folks in traffic is that you will not be able to check the quality of what was been sold to you but it also gives you the satisfaction of helping poor folks. But now that he had been scammed, he needed a rethink of his strategy; his decision was drastic, no more procurements in traffic. Since the possibility of being scammed now exists, the desire to help must also be tampered.
As the gentleman was telling me the story, the quote above came to my mind. Imagine the damage done by one fellow to the entire traffic-sales industry. The desire to fraudulently make some extra money can destroy the whole business. That was the story of just one person I was privy to hear; imagine the millions of other similar cases that I didn’t hear about. Gradually, the poor folks that good people like my friend are trying to help will find out that no one buys the handkerchiefs again and they will be out of business.
Once that “industry” collapses, few people will do a root cause failure analysis of the collapse. It all begins with the greed of a few people; then it extends to the silence of many good people who knew about the fraudulent acts but are too scared to speak out; then the loss of interest from aggrieved and scammed customers and the full collapse of the industry. The main challenge for that industry is that once a customer feels cheated, he or she will tell others about their ordeal. Take note: there is enough blame to go around.
This happened on the street but the lessons extend to corporate board rooms and government agencies. It is the same tendencies that make the electorates rate governments very low in most countries; it is what makes big industries die after years of existence. It has nothing to do with race, gender or religion; it cut across every sphere of life and the fundamentals are the same. It always begins with a few bad people.
We only get one chance before Trust is destroyed. The young lady or guy that has always been comfortable around you for years until that moment you decide to “inappropriately touch”. The integrity that was excellent goes down the drain the moment an allegation of conflict existed and you refused to report it. Life hardly gives a second chance, so be careful.
Take utmost heed to the things you have built, lest you lose them in the blink of an eye. The other heed we need to take is to ensure that we don’t keep quiet when “the few bad folks” start to exhibit their greed; lest the industry goes down the drain due to no fault of ours and yet the consequences of the collapse will be universal.