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Perception IS Reality

By Ryan Sauers

About Ryan

Ryan T. Sauers is president of Sauers Consulting Strategies and spent nearly 20 years leading printing and promotional product companies prior to founding the firm. The organization consults with printing and promotional product related companies across the country, helping them grow the front end of their organization. Sauers is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and is the author of the top-selling book “Everyone Is in Sales”, with another book in the works.  He is a Certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator and DiSC Practitioner and Certified Marketing Executive. Ryan writes national feature articles and speaks at national conferences on such topics as sales, marketing, communications, leadership, organizational strategy and social media. He is also an adjunct university professor. More info at

Three Wrongs Make a Right

Today I was eating at a restaurant with my family and it was one we had never tried before. As it turns out, it will be the basis of this week’s blog post. The server does not come to our table for 10 minutes after we were seated. Wrong #1. So, I had to go ask someone who our server was and then he magically appeared. We told him we were ready with our drink and food order if that made it easier for him. (Yes, we were hungry.) Oh yeah, and before I forget, this restaurant has one of those Coke machines that can make tons of variety flavors of drinks. So, we order a few like Cherry Coke Zero and then a couple of iced teas (yes Kelly Mallozzi, and John Foley) sweet tea. OK, back to the story...

So, the server disappears for quite a while and finally comes back and has the drink order entirely wrong. Wrong #2. He went back to fix this once we told him. Third, the manager comes out to ask if we ordered only two food orders (there were four of us there today) instead of four food orders. We said no and she apologized and said the server put in all the food wrong as well. Wrong #3.

The server never told us it was his first day or we might have been more understanding. This was just a lack of good communications on his part. However, the manager did everything right. She rushed to get all the drinks fixed, took care of our table herself, offered us a free appetizer, and then explained all the options with each meal (which we did not get the first time). You see, she took a situation that was quickly getting bad and fixed it. So my experience was not great today, but it would not stop me from going back. Why? She cared and communicated she was sorry and explained the truth as to what was going on.

She was honest, did not make excuses and simply took care of the problem. Is this not something we can all learn from and apply to our business? There are times when it might be appropriate to explain “why” something went wrong to a customer. However, in many cases the best policy is to say we have “dropped the ball” on this and we will do whatever it takes to make the situation right. This is what the manager did for my family at lunch. Little does she know I am blogging about this on an international blog.

Customers do not like mistakes. However, my most loyal customers were earned based on how I make bad situations “right” for them. Once a customer knows you will go the extra mile and do what is right, you have reached an entirely new level in your relationship. You make them feel important and they know that you will stand behind a problem. Thus, you create more than a loyal make a raving fan.

So, as the title states...sometimes three wrongs can make a right! 

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