Posts Tagged ‘mistakes’
I have spent this weekend in Paris to celebrate my wife’s 40th Birthday. As part of this trip, we visited a fabulous restaurant called Le Fermette Marbeuf. The restaurant is very pricey, but the food is very good and the decoration is exquisite. But in spite of spending an awful lot of money with them, the service was nothing short of shocking.
We both ordered starters, main courses and deserts. My wife received her starter and I got. . . an empty plate. Yes, they actually brought me a plate with nothing on. We explained that I had ordered a starter, but they didn’t seem at all fussed – they disappeared to check on the starter. About 30 minutes later, two more plates arrived – with our main courses. When I explained I was missing a starter, the waiter just shrugged, and wandered away.
So OK, they had made a mistake – they had goofed. They were very busy, and maybe they didn’t have enough staff. They had somehow lost an order for a starter (or turned my order into an order for “Starter La Empty-Plate”). But, we all make mistakes in business. It’s how you handle them that makes the difference.
The head waiter could have come over to apologise – but no. They could have offered me something in return, but no. Instead, when I was presented with the bill, they said because of their mistake, they had not charged me for the starter I hadn’t received. Well shucks – that’s good of them.
Business Mistakes are an inconvenience. They will always be an inconvenience to somebody – the question is – who? If you make a mistake – you deliver late, you miss something off, you forget something, is it good enough to just say “sorry” and expect your customers to deal with the inconvenience? If this is the case, would you expect repeat business, quick and easy payment, and recommendations? Or would you expect complaints, bad reviews (that internet is a powerful place for people with axes to grind) and problems in the future?
I for one want a simple life – a stress free life. Which is why whenever I do make mistakes (it happens), I make sure my customers are not inconvenienced.
What about you?
You remember that girl you dated at school (if you’re a women reading this, it was the guy you dated) – the one you were not so nice to, the one who’s heart you broke. Well, thanks to the internet she can now find you, track you down, see where you work, what you do, and what your thoughts are on last nights TV. The Internet, and especially in social media, has made all of our lives transparent.
I met a freelancer the other day that had a twitter account, and on his feed he was busy tearing holes into all the processes, procedures and systems his last customer used. Now what do you think would happen if after attending a contracting job ‘interview’ or putting a proposal in front of a new prospect, that person googled him? Do you think he would get the work? This is why you need to double-think everything you put into the cloud.
One of my former lecturers once told me that reputations and trust take a lifetime to build, and a moment to destroy. I would suggest in this internet and social connected world, it’s even faster than that.
Dan Quayle – Trenton, New Jersey, USA – June 15, 1992
A quick one from me today, but a risky one!!! I could be the kettle calling the pot black!
A week or so ago was sitting on the London Underground, reading a couple of advertisements (not much else to do on the tube). I had to read both advertisements twice. The first one was for an on-line dating agency and had as part of the text, “…we will find you perfect match…”. Take your guess at what the missing word was from “a”, “your”, “no”, “somebody’s”. The next advert was for a tech college, and had so many buzz words, extra long sentences and repeated words, it made no sense at all. It included the phrase “We ensure that no matter if you are a QMC or HND, our MTEs will elevate your skill status beyond the average return for the SEE for the exam year”. Catchy!!
Both ads must had been printed thousands of times, been placed in hundreds of tube trains and posters in tube stations. It would have cost both companies thousands of pounds. Yet the adverts were junk.
Now we all make mistakes. I am sure that this blog is full of typos, grammatical errors, spelling errors and such. But, and here is the point, this is not my revenue generating work. Any specifications I produce, quotes I generate, emails I send get checked, double checked and if somebody else is available, gets a 2nd opinion. This not only helps check that I don’t have any obvious errors, but that it can be understood by somebody who does not speak the tech language I speak.
If somebody had run these adverts past somebody else, these basic errors would have been spotted, corrected and I am sure made more of an impact.
So who is checking your work?
If there is one thing that annoys me about business more than anything else, its arrogant companies. Companies who think that they are big enough or well known enough to tell their customers how to behave, what to order, how to run their business, or who they are. And worse of all, are companies who send out marketing material and expect you to know what they are talking about, without telling you.
I am not the perfect salesman, or the perfect business owner, but even I know that when it comes to sending out marketing information, rule number 1 is to tell the recipient what you are promoting. Yes, you can make it discrete, but somewhere there has to be a message of “Please use my widget making service”. Without this simple statement, the recipient of the marketing piece doesn’t know if you are selling widgets, TV’s, cats or dogs.
So I was both frustrated and disappointed that in one day, I received two different marketing items which completely failed to tell me what they were selling. Worse still, was the fact that the first marketing letter actually wanted to offer me a referral promotion discount, for a product or service, without telling me what the service was.
So I offer as evidence of a classic marketing mistake the two examples (2 pages of each) of bad marketing that I received yesterday. Worth noting that I am not a customer of nor use the services of either company.
The first is the marketing referral letter, with no introduction of what the company does (where is the “Tell your friends why we are the best dog catcher” (or whatever)), or even a “Dear Mr Brown” introduction. Nope, this letter was straight into how good their service support is… but service for what?!?
The 2nd example (next 2 pages) are for a conference for EHI. As I don’t know what EHI is (they make the assumption that anybody reading this will know what EHI stands for) I will continue reading. Its only when I start reading the schedule of events does it become clearer. Where is the strapline of “The definitive (whatever) conference” so I know who/what EHI is, or what the conference are about.
These are not only examples of very bad marketing, but also a waste of the marketers money, a waste of postage, and a waste of paper.
Normally, I enjoy posting tips on small business techniques and tools which have worked for me in the hope of helping others. Generally, if something does not work, well I just let it go and move on, or don’t mention the resource. But today, I thought I would share a project I outsourced recently which went very wrong, in a hope that other small companies and freelancers avoid the same mistake.
The failed project was all to do with a new web site I launched. When you are looking to drive web traffic to a web site, it’s all about links. The more inbound quality links you have, the more Google rates your web pages, and higher up you appear in search results, which then of course leads to more traffic. Having done some research, I had seen that there was a lot of discussion about positive links which could be obtained through links in articles published in web based article repositories.
Having a full schedule, I decided to outsource the creation of the articles and the linkage to an SEO company. So using Freelancer.com, I created a project for 50 high quality permanent links into my web site, and as you would expect, received a lot of interest and a wide range of bids. Whilst I didn’t specifically mention link through articles in my project scope, all the responses I received indicated that this is the way that the freelancers would generate the links.
After careful consideration of the reviews the freelancers had received for previous projects, I made a selection – a mid price response with good feedback. In fact, the selected freelancer promised more than my requested 50 links – they promised me 200 links.
The freelancer started work, and 1 month later, the work was complete. I received a nice report of all the sites the articles were published on, and a promise that in 2-3 months Google would have finished the indexing and the links round be in place. But 4 months after project completion, the number of links generated equalled…. just six. Six, out of a promised 200.
After speaking to some SEO consultants, it now becomes clear that the problem is not down to lack of work by the selected freelancer, but by the technique used. The concept of links through articles is being done to death, with new articles being published so frequently that by the time Google revisits the article directories, the new articles are on pages 10 and beyond, so Google does not reach them, hence they are not added.
I have learnt my lesson, and I am moving on ($200 lighter in pocket), and creating links to my project myself, using the best method that never fails – manual hard work.