No One Mourns the Wicked

In Wicked, the musical, the Wicked Witch laments that no good deed goes unpunished. (If you haven’t seen it, Wicked is fabulous, and I promise not to ruin the story.) She isn’t the first to be upset when she does the Right Thing and her actions are portrayed another way. Her frustration is shared by many people in business.

You do the Right Thing, but the action, product, or service provided is misconstrued, distorted, or misinterpreted. These failures to effectively communicate your message can tarnish your image and be costly in business. It is imperative to proactively manage your reputation both online, though your social media efforts, and in superlative product delivery.

How do you assess your outward standing as an individual? As a company? What reputation do your products project? Do you make promises? Do you always deliver? As a general rule, great companies delight their customers by under promising and over delivering. If you promise to return phone calls in 90 minutes, but then 4 hours go by without a return call, your customer feels neglected. However, if you promise to return a phone call in 4 hours, and then return calls within 90 minutes, you surpass expectations.

No, the key is not consistently lowered expectations. The key is having expectations for yourself and your business and then always striving to exceed those expectations.

We can all recall companies that promise a great product. What makes the truly great companies outstanding? Is it really just the product?

If the outcome was simply a satisfactorily working product, then the cellular phone industry would never see people changing their plans. Cell phone companies might be characterized by delighted and loyal customers, and customer migration between phone companies would be miniscule. But that is not the case. People change phone companies frequently. There is clearly room for improved delivery.

What makes you return to a particular hotel over and over?If you adore your hotel, why exactly do you love staying there? Is it the location? View? Service? Comfort? Affordability? Is it the details, like the hotels in London that provide guests with the makings of a full in-room tea service, or the extreme politeness of the kind telephone customer service representative who helpfully found the right part for your broken refrigerator, or the flight attendant who seems genuinely interested in making sure that you enjoyed your flight.

Delighted clients not only return; they make referrals to others. Unhappy clients rarely complain to you but, in the age of blogs and easy websites, they may slam you online. They may post a complaint on their website.

What is a hard-working company to do?

Use technology to solve problems. Google your name, your product and your company, and quickly respond to any compliant. Have a site where people can make comments. A few less than thrilled comments won’t hurt you as long as you promise to fix the problem, and then DO IT.

In today’s market, it is not enough to simply want to deliver the right product to the right person with a great experience. The intentions and products can be terrific, but the online community needs to reflect your commitment to a consistently great outcome every time.

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