How do you “make up when you mess up” ? There’s a great leadership lesson for you in this week’s article when it comes to recovering from a mistake. Plus it’s a chance for me to shine a spotlight on a client whom I became a client of this year as well.
We recently closed on our new house. The real estate agency and mortgage company we hired are both owned by a client turned friend of mine, Loni Graiver.
I don’t think I’ve met a CEO who is harder on himself than Loni and I mean that in a good way. He holds himself and his company to a very high standard. Loni has built the largest privately owned real estate agency in the state of Maine and is an incredibly successful entrepreneur. He also doesn’t “read his own newspaper clippings” so to speak. Loni is always looking to improve as evidenced by the following update he shared with his team at the end of the week. (I was so struck by it, I got his permission to share it with you.)
“While I could easily talk about all the successful closings Cumberland County Mortgage closed in June (and it was a record breaking month) instead my post is focusing on the handful of transactions that we have missed closing dates on and thus, didn’t deliver. So what did we do? Pay for added rent, pay for moving trucks, pay for the nicest hotel rooms, pay for storage units, send movers, send dinners, send cleaners and anything else we could do to make up for delays due to crazy high volume. We feel that you can tell a lot more about a lender by how we repair our mistakes than how we act when all goes perfectly. I thank our hard working processing team for all the extra hours put forth and our loan officers who all care about pleasing their clients far more than their paychecks. Good times ahead!”
You can definitely tell a lot about more a company by how they fix mistakes than how they behave when things go well. We are living in an era where your recovery is more noteworthy than your delivery. Why? Because customers have grown to expect delivery to be instant, on-demand and seamless. When they’re not, you’ll hear about it. Think about the reasons you’ve stopped doing business with someone. They probably screwed something up and didn’t make any attempt to recover from the mistake other than maybe an “I’m sorry”.
Customers have very low frustration tolerance today because they have so much more control than ever before. People don’t merely accept things as they are, “off the rack” so to speak anymore. The customer expects to be in control of the buying experience and have what they purchase custom tailored to their demands. For example, most people don’t buy an entire album anymore instead they opt to purchase specific tracks on iTunes, or create their own curated playlist on Spotify. You can even custom design your own station on Pandora.com based on your listening tastes to ensure you get exactly what you want. (And pay to have it commercial free I might add.)
While most transactions today are customer-controlled and practically instant, the mortgage industry is the furthest thing from either. It’s got a lot of curve balls, moving parts and the customer has little to no control of the process. If you’re in an industry with a ton of moving parts and where your customers don’t get to exercise control of the process here’s something helpful to remember.
People determine whether they can trust us based on whether or not we do WHAT we said we would do WHEN we said we would do it and HOW we said we’d do it.
Are things always going to go perfectly? No. And I would argue that a missed deadline or flawed delivery actually gives you an opportunity to grow a deeper relationship with your client. There’s so much mediocrity out there it’s an epidemic. The company that recovers well and over-delivers to “make good” on a mistake will reap the benefits many times over as opposed to the competitor that dismisses mistakes or tries to sweep them under the rug.
Are you doing something to your customer or for your customer? There’s a big difference between manipulation and facilitation. One gets you referrals, the other gets you fired.
Do your people care more about pleasing their clients than their own paychecks? I can tell you that the minute they do make that shift, is the minute they will see their paychecks grow.