Epic Fail in Customer Integrity – How Should You Handle It?

Date posted: August 25, 2017

Customer service has evolved to be one of the defining attributes of the most successful businesses of our era. Consumers today are well-informed and most people buying any kind of product, including employees purchasing goods and services for their employers, know value for money. They have high expectations and long memories, and they are not afraid to seek compensation when they believe they have not received what they ordered.

Well-informed Consumers have High Expectations

Most companies try very hard to meet or exceed customer expectations. They invest in staff training, improved technology, quality equipment and develop sophisticated management systems to ensure that every customer order is fulfilled.

Sometimes, however, things happen that are either outside the control of a company, such as a natural disaster, or that slip through management processes, which impact on customers. A recent high-profile example is the hundreds of thousands of faulty airbags installed in vehicles that have caused several deaths.

Is Covering up a Failure a Good Idea?

We know that covering up a failure might be successful in the short term, but eventually the truth comes out, by which time the issue has affected many more people. Such incidents in the past have led to the public now having a very unfavourable view of once-respected institutions and businesses. They now value authenticity above other attributes, and companies such as ours must realise this and structure their operations accordingly.

At Reay Services Group, we worked hard to develop professional relationships with our clients, suppliers and all other stakeholders impacted by our business operations. As a major supplier of mining and pipeline services to public companies and government bodies, we pursued certifications in health and safety, quality and environment standards to give our clients confidence in our ability to complete their projects on time and within budget.

Risk Management Exercises Based on “What Ifs”

Part of our risk management plan is to hypothesise scenarios where our systems could potentially fail and severely affect a project. A major outcome of this exercise is the realisation that rebuilding our company’s integrity would be our top priority once the immediate issue is contained.

Customers will Remember being Deceived

How to provide accurate and up-to-date information on the situation to our clients and the media quickly, offer public apologies, set up systems for rectifying the problem and being open and transparent, were all part of the discussion. We hope never to be in this position, but we also believe that any company that does not plan for such an event, or worse still, tries to mislead customers if something does happen, will be seen as deceptive and untrustworthy.