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.”
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.
So, 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?
Very cool. Thanks for another interesting post, Greg.
Thank YOU for reading, Brett. Hope Iceland was as awesome as it looked.
Greg….Great point. I felt the same way when I read there email. They also did a good job of explaining that IF anyone saw your info, it was your invoices…That do not have any payment info (your credit card number) but it could have had your billing address on it. They way they phrased it was beautiful. They eliminated the concern of needing to go thru the hassle of cancelling our credit cards…but they took responsibility of someone possibly seeing our billing address. I could go to 100 different websites and within 1 minute have your address, and for that matter every address you’ve ever had. It’s public information!!!
I agree. I thought it was masterfully handled.
Hi Greg, wow, this really means a lot. It’s obviously no fun to deal with an issue like this, but it feels really good to be open and honest about what happened and receive such a positive response.
Hey, when you handle things authentically and with grace it goes a long ways. Happy to be a customer. Thanks for taking the time to read. Cheers.
When you get a true Wistia Legend commenting on your blog…you know you’ve reached the Big Time Status….
However, If the Wistia Legend that starred in the Lemonade Stand video posted a comment on your blog…That would be Legendary Status…It would be like a Movie Star endorsing you!!!
Yep…Jeff Vincent….Come on Jeff…Post a comment.
I know man! I’m big time now.
Hey Greg, hey Chris,
I appreciate the kind words. Sorry for the slow response – the lemonade business is like hot cakes here in the summer 😉
This post was so wonderful to see, thank you for writing it up. While we always aim to do best by our customers, it can be scary telling people when you make a mistake! I feel very fortunate to have Brendan as my manager and mentor. He makes it easy to make the right calls on behalf of our customers, and even volunteers to write the email, script the video, _and_ handle every response himself. He’s the real MVP of this story!
Thanks again for writing this story up, and sharing it with your audience. We really appreciate it!
All good Jeff. I’m a happy Wistia customer over here; and this was an example of why. I don’t expect you to be perfect, I do expect you to be honest. Well done.