Running a business for the last year has changed me in a number of ways. (In fact, that should probably be a blog post of its own in the near future.)

Anyway, if you run your own business, then I’m sure you can relate. There’s something about building and managing a brand that affects the way you look at other businesses. You start to think “Oh, that was really smart” and “Um, I’m not sure I would have done that the same way”.

Actually, I’m not even sure that running your own business is a prerequisite for that – all you have to do is pay attention to how you interact with other businesses and then consider how that can help you in your day-to-day role; whether that’s as an entrepreneur or not. Sounds simple enough, right?

Well, it is simple. But the reality is that most people see these lessons, and they just choose not to do anything with the information. Here’s what I mean: We’ve all had a bad customer experience before. You know, where things just didn’t go as you expected, and you didn’t feel valued. And we’ve all had a great customer experience before – the kind where you WANT them to give you a survey so that you can rave about it to someone. The trick here, and what I think a lot of people overlook, is taking that experience and figuring out what you can take away from it.

Yeah, it’s one extra step. But it’s that simple step that prevents 90% of people from taking their day-to-day interactions, and drawing direct benefit from them that they can pass on to their customers and to their prospects.

Let me illustrate with an example:

On June 13th I received an email from Brendan, the CTO at Wistia. Wistia is the video hosting service I use for all my videos, and for the past year they’ve been really solid. I recommend them pretty regularly. So, I get this email, and it’s an apology. It turns out that a customer had made them aware of a security vulnerability in their application that could allow a logged-in Wistia account owner to view other customers’ receipts or invoices.

They go on to say: “We deployed a fix for the issue within 30 minutes of learning about it. While we have no reason to believe that anyone intentionally accessed your receipts, we don’t know definitively that they were not accessed, which is why we’re writing to you now.”

Customer Experience Email

That’s it. There was an issue. It was reported. They fixed it. And now they’re letting me know. Heck, they even included a brief 30 second video explaining the issue and apologizing again. (See the video)

So, Wistia had a security vulnerability, great. Why am I raving about it?

Well, I’m not raving about the vulnerability. I’m raving about the way they handled it. The Customer Experience they created. You see, if they hadn’t sent an email notifying me, I probably never would have even known that the issue had existed, or that it had been resolved. My life would have been pretty much unchanged.

But sending the email did a couple of things: It brought an issue to my attention. And yes, that issue wasn’t a fun one, but by bringing up a tough subject, and doing it delicately, and with empathy – they’ve fortified their relationship with me; and demonstrated that I can trust them. They took ownership of their mistake, educated me on what they were doing about it, and issued a genuine apology.

That’s good enough for me. Heck, look at the comments that their other users left on that video. People loved the transparency and care that Wistia demonstrated. This mistake may have actually made their customers love them more.

Wistia Customer ExperienceSo, I felt pretty good about the whole interaction – but remember, that’s not enough for me. I looked at this situation again to what I could take away for Monkeypod, and here’s the customer experience lesson:

People are more likely to forgive you when you make a mistake if you own it, are authentic, and give a meaningful apology. I don’t have a plan for making any mistakes that merit an apology anytime soon, but I am happy to say that now I do have a plan for how I’ll handle it if I do. Because hey, there’s a reasonable chance that some day I will. And the way Wistia handled this is a template for how I like to think I’d respond to a similar situation.

How about you? Any interactions lately (good or bad), that you can harvest lessons from for your own business?