We’ve all done it. We made some epic mistake with a good customer and your “you-know-what” is on the line. There’s no denying the mistake and the time fast approaches to owning up.
We’ve got so many ways to reach out to stay in touch with clients today. E-mail them, text them, hell…Tweet or Instagram them. Smart phones and tablets have put us within reach of just about anyone at any time.
Then again, there are times when I think we should throw our phones, tablets and laptops into the nearest pond.
Tech in and of itself is a good thing. I’ve made a living producing and selling it. It’s a wonderful collection of tools that make us much more efficient. But I see too many professionals—sales folks in particular—who tend to hide behind it when it comes to getting face-to-face. I see too many salespeople so “busy” firing off messages they never make it out the door. I’ve seen people text each other in the same room. We’ve all seen or had conversations with peers or colleagues who are far more engaged in their smart phone than in anything we’re saying. And then, of course, there’s the “I screwed up” message, sent by e-mail (#FAIL).
When we communicate by text, e-mail or other such means, we leave too much to the reader’s imagination. Words are easily misinterpreted. There’s no body language. No inflection or tone to the words. No eye contact. No meaningful pauses. We humans communicate using more than just the written word. If you’re expecting to build a relationship of trust, you will not—repeat, WILL NOT—do it using only electronic communication. Even Skype, Facetime and other video services, while they do have their uses, don’t compare to a good old fashioned on-site visit.
Ever have a really good experience with a company’s support desk when they communicated with you by email only?
So the next time you or your company screw it up, or even if your client thinks you screwed it up, your e-mail won’t cut it. Even a phone call may not be enough (voice mail does not count in this case, either). Consider getting in the car or on a plane. Want to close the deal with a prospect? Take him or her to dinner or go to their office. Don’t email, Tweet, friend or like.
When you screw it up, make it real.