Excuse vs. Explanation

Thank you Seth Godin for inspiring today’s post.

When a customer asks for a product you’re out of, do you offer an excuse or an explanation?

They are not the same. And it’s the difference between good service and bad service.

An excuse shows your failure. An explanation shows you accept responsibility for the failure and that you’ll do whatever you can to fix it.

Sure there are manufacturing issues, credit problems and weather delays.

Your customer doesn’t care. They just want their product.

What’s your excuse?

This entry was posted in Excuse, Explanation, Good Service, Service, Seth Godin. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Excuse vs. Explanation

  1. BKO says:

    “I apologize for that ma’am or sir – however the server here on campus has shut down and we are at a complete standstill at the moment – please let me take your name, ID number and a contact phone number and I will get right on this when the system is working again.” How is that?

    • David says:

      Great Brandon. It acknowledges the problem and what you’ll do about it. It doesn’t commit you to a specific time. But it commits you to put your reputation on the line. Your customer (the student) will now hold you responsible for something that isn’t your fault. You’ve just now made it your problem and you can’t let them down.

      I’m confident you’d handle it great! 🙂

  2. Patty Hebert says:

    I walk out to the lot with the customer. View the problem. Promise to relate the issue to the foreman and after there is a resolution, call. The best part of the job is customer service.

    • David says:

      I love that last line, Patty. I’m not sure I could do your job, i.e. work where you work. But getting pleasure from delivering great service is a goal worthy of the utmost respect!

  3. jeff noel says:

    At the risk of sounding arrogant, isn’t the only reason we are there is to try to surprise and delight the customer as often as possible?

    Culture is what you think and do, without thinking.

    PS. Knowing full well that humans are involved and there will be strike outs, foul balls, etc.

    • David says:

      Absolutely. It seems that businesses are constantly trying to reinvent themselves to make their systems run more efficiently. And, in turn, they seem to be dumbing-down their approach to training employees. Mediocrity is the acceptable norm today.

      And no, jeff, you do not sound arrogant. I can hear the tone of your voice asking that question. 🙂

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