When Problems Appear …

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When things go “to hell in a hand basket” how do you react? What do you do to rectify the situation … and avoid crisis?

Because of technology, we live in a fast-paced world and have easy access to people 24/7. This means that while you are sleeping, eating or spending a Saturday afternoon at your son’s Little League game, others are working – and communicating with you. There isn’t one business person who hasn’t checked his Blackberry first thing in the morning (as his morning cup of coffee is still brewing and the moon is shining) only to say, “Oh hell … this is going to be a fun day!” because of an email he received overnight.

Abrupt and pointed emails happen. Unhappy customers (for a variety of reason) stick their heads into our already jammed packed days, but it is how we react to them that will make all the difference.

There isn’t one remodeler or home improvement contractor out there that hasn’t received an irate email or voice mail from a customer. How do you react? Do you fire back a pointed email to the client … or do you pick up the phone and allow them to vent? Do you calmly and succinctly explain them through their concerns until they feel better – and have understanding – again?

Problems happen every day, but it is how you react to them can go a long ways to building trust, respect and a deeper, long-lasting connection with your customer.

In the book, “Go-Givers Sell More” by Bob Burg and John David Mann (2011), the authors note that often times it is the client that asks the thorniest questions and voices the most objections that becomes your most loyal fan. In fact, the Chinese symbol for crisis is composed of two characters meaning danger and opportunity.  Furthermore, the English word crisis comes from Greek krisis, which means “choice.”

In closing, here’s a telling story from the book:

“During the Great Depression, a traveling salesman-turned-entrepreneur named Henry J. Kaiser built businesses that put tens of thousands of people back to work. Kaiser was so consistently fair to his employees that he earned the respect and admiration of trade unions – an especially impressive feat for the times. What is most intriguing about Kaiser’s long and illustrious career is that his greatest achievements grew out of his response to failures, business closings, and other “catastrophes.” On his deathbed Kaiser reiterated a saying that had guided him throughout his life:

Problems are simply opportunities in work clothes.”

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