So, the other day my mentor Jon ordered a rowing machine from a gym equipment company. They screwed up the delivery – took a couple of weeks, then it was delayed, and nobody seemed to be that fussed about fixing the problem.
Which was stupid of them, because Jon doesn’t care much about price as long as he gets what he wants without hassle. This was hassle, and he unleashed The Rage in the form of a very long, very articulate, surprisingly non-sweary email to the MD. Apparently the MD had got all huffy with Jon because Jon was miffed about the crap service.
So Jon being Jon, he sent an essay. Very entertaining it was too. I won’t reproduce it here, because the point I want to make is this: great service should be a minimum requirement. This stuff they messed up, it should be an automatic priority. Sure, mistakes happen – we all get that. But how you deal with them, is what’s important.
And these guys dealt with it appallingly.
Hence Jon’s epic email.
But here’s the thing: the gym equipment guy managed to save the whole thing… here’s what happened next, and why Jon emailed him at all:
“It was cathartic and was far better than swearing angrily down the phone at him which would have achieved nothing except get us both angry.
And I wrote a long email because a short one would have been much ruder and ended in a demand for a refund — which would have left me worse off than I am now, because I’d still have no rowing machine and would have the hassle of ordering another one. By the time I’d finished writing it (about an hour), my bad mood had dissipated and I was laughing to and at myself.
A nyway, after he read the email, the guy phoned me.
And he was laughing, too.
He’d enjoyed the email and said at first he thought I was a bit of a tit, but having read that and laughed at it, he figured he and I would get on.
He was right.
We chatted, he apologised for his company’s monumental fuckup, and then asked what he could do to make it better.
So I told him nothing more to be done, of course. But that was OK, because I’ll get the missing parts in a couple of days, and by writing and sending the email I got my frustration off my chest. And it is frustrating… but that’s all it is. No one’s died.
More: he asked what he needed to do to get more of my business.
And I told him he’d already done that by phoning and having a chat and a laugh with me.
We also talked about the shit he has to put up with in his industry — ironically, having to deal with price buyers, of which I ain’t one.
I’m sending him a copy of Grow Your Business FAST, so he’ll learn the error of his ways.
The upshot is, we’re OK and it’s sorted amicably in the end.
And it’s also a good example of relationship-building and the power thereof.
In other words, I will be buying from them in future.”
Good stuff, eh? Gym dude now has a very lucrative relationship with someone who’s addicted to spending money on stuff like that… and Jon’s probably got a new customer, too, because he’ll read that book and buy Jon’s stuff.
All this good business stuff? It all comes from building relationships. Which means being a real person. Funny that. There’s no “magic ninja tricks” or any of that “goo-roo” nonsense involved.
Just simple, powerful human relationships.
Want a copy of Jon’s book? It’s the best business book I’ve ever read (including my own, lolz etc.) so you should get a copy here.
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.
PS You might be wondering why I’m promoting someone who could be seen as my competitor (which I’m totally flattered by because he’s my mentor)… because it’s something you won’t find most copywriters and business coaches doing. It’s because the pie is plenty big enough for everyone. Some people will love Jon’s style; others will hate it. He’s an acquired taste. As am I, I guess – and if Jon’s style suits you more, I’d rather you went to him and did brilliantly than stuck with me and struggled with my style.