There’s some special about receiving great customer service, and it can show up in interesting ways. Sometimes great customer service means facing challenges and rising above that discomfort to be amazing for someone. I have one such story to tell you today.
Part 1: The Customers
Yesterday, I received an email from a customer who actually wasn’t my customer. I was the middle man. I served as the liaison between this customer, let’s call him Joe, and the web developer from overseas, let’s call him DMF (if you want to know what that stands for, message me). DMF wasn’t able to accept American funds, so I served as the intermediary.
Let’s just review the first obvious lesson: Please do not hire an overseas web developer, especially one who is in a country that cannot accept American money or Paypal. I’m sure some are fantastic and worth the reduced price, but BUYER BEWARE. After you hear my story, you’ll definitely want to look elsewhere.
Part 2: The Project
The work assigned was rather simple: Create a dynamic form on Joe’s WordPress website and connect to Infusionsoft. Infusionsoft is the database that holds Joe’s contacts, sends out email, and provides the automation to help manage Joe’s customer service.
DMF decided the best course of action was to work the front end first.
*NOTE: If you hire someone who doesn’t reverse engineer the process, rethink your decision. The backend stuff has to be done first.
DMF also used FTP and recoded Joe’s website, such that it broke.
*NOTE: If you have a WordPress website, development doesn’t need to have code. I want to speak as plainly as possible, but WordPress is so wonderful for everyone because you don’t have to understand everything. It’s really a drag-and-drop system, if you pick the right pieces to play with.
Let me give you an analogy that you’ll understand. DMF tried to make a 40-foot outdoor arch with 1/4 aluminum and 2 not lamps, and the whole thing broke.
Part 3: Delivering Great Customer Service
Joe was mad and deservedly so.
When I noticed this was happening, I panicked. I got the shakes. I cried. Then I got to work on how to fix this problem and offer Joe excellent customer service.
It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t break Joe’s site. However, my name was on this project. Joe paid me, and I paid DMF; therefore, I felt it was my responsibility to step up as a leader and own the problem and the solution.
My Action Steps:
- I immediately demanded DMF return the money I paid him for poor workmanship and not completing the job. Because he had broken the website, I did not have the confidence in his ability to fix this. In addition, he did not complete any of the backend work.
- I apologized to Joe and his team for bringing a spider into this mix, unknowingly, but offered to fix the problem myself AND refund the money he paid. I was terrified that I would ultimately be out the money. I wasn’t sure DMF would actually return the money.
- We deleted any possible login DMF could have used to access Joe’s website and his Infusionsoft. I also instructed Joe and his team to mark DMF’s emails as spam and not to communicate with him at all. I wanted Joe and his team to be safe.
DMF did try to bring Joe and his team into the foray when I was demanding my money back. I wasn’t having it!
Part 4: The Outcome
I was terrified that Joe was going to scream at me after I sent my apology email. Worse, I was so scared that I would be sued. However, Joe appreciated my email and was very nice.
Whew! I then had the space to breathe and request access to their Infusionsoft. That’s when I discovered that nothing had been done!
I composed a long detailed proposal of what needed to be done, WHY it needed to be done, and the order in which I would complete the job. I sent that email at 6am yesterday. I also promised I would complete it by the end of the day.
I proceeded to follow my detailed plan, just as I had mapped out for Joe and his team. I worked well with his marketing director. I provided them with a progress report video in the middle of the day, once I had completed all the backend stuff. That included forms, thank you pages, emails, and reporting.
I proceeded to complete all the customer-facing work on the website. In total, I added approximately 55 pages to their website, developed another 16 webforms. I spent 8.19 hours performing the work, from planning to completion.
I’m waiting to perform any edits they need to have done.
Why am I sharing this story?
First I want you to know that anybody can be duped by someone who seems to know what they are doing.
Second, things like this are going to happen. It wouldn’t be life if they didn’t. How you show up and solve a problem is probably more important than getting it right the first time.
Third, planning can do amazing things for you! Furthermore, if you communicate that plan with your customers, that provides great customer service to them, without you having to do extra work.
Incidentally, this is not the first time I’ve stepped in to fix something. I’ve acquired most of my clients because they got screwed in some way.
And that’s really why and how I became a web developer, although I never really thought of myself as one. I’ve learned the craft out of necessity and to help people.
Do you have a story about saving a customer? Maybe it would help others. Please share!