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It’s not the problem; it’s how you handled it

By on June 12, 2011 in Solutions with 2 Comments
Life inevitably throws you a curveball. If you are in the painting industry and have not made a mistake, trust me, you will. Spilled paint, broken items or even applying the wrong color, it happens to everyone. Being on the front line means no matter who makes the mistake, you will be perceived as responsible. 

Recently, we were given some material to try out. (Free is good) Having used Zinnser’s excellent line of primers for years, it would be hard to switch from it. We use so much that we generally buy it a case at a time, and because of the cost savings at big box stores, we normally get it there.

One of our suppliers (Sherwin Williams) started to carry XIM’s Primer Sealer 1125 touting it as a replacement for Zinnser’s Bulls Eye 123, both being waterborne stain blocking primers. Fred Davis, my sales rep gave a gallon of the waterborne and the oil to try. (Although, he took the oil back and still owes me one.) Since we were doing some work at my next door neighbors, we decided to give it a try. (No review, that’s a future blog)

Anyway, as we applied it, we noticed it was bubbling as we went over drywall repairs and even over previously painted areas. Now I am ready to pour it all back up and toss it. Switching back to a tried and true product. But first, we called the people at XIM. They took the time to ask a few questions and got the batch number off the can. A couple of minutes on hold and we were informed that they had received a bad batch of raw materials from somebody and that there was foaming issues. Not only were they willing to replace the gallon (I told them it was a freebie and not necessary) they shipped me two gallons for the one.

What’s the point? I could have easily trashed the paint and XIM, telling everybody I know that the product was junk. BUT, they went out of their way to explain what happened, why it happened and what they were going to do to make it good. I wound up feeling good about the results and am going to give them another shot. Point is, do you treat your customers this way? When you make a mistake do you blow them off? Or do you “Make it good”?

If repeat customers and referrals are important to your business, you need to go the extra mile. Solve any problems ASAP and make sure the customer knows you’ve taken care of it and they are happy.

I’ll submit to you that most people care less about the mistake, than the way you handle that mistake. If you are in the customer service business, you need to handle all mistakes in a way that re-enforces that you are going to take care of you customer.

Dale Thomas

http://annapolispainter.blogspot.com/

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  1. Very nice Dale, and I would have probably been so angry that I would have trashed the xim, and the product.

    I have to wonder though. If they know a product is bad where it is causing issues like yours then why not recall it? I can see an issue with smaller retailers, but this is SW we are talking about. One memo sent from the head office could have taken care of that bad batch getting into any more customers hands.

    I suppose it is possible they did and SW just didn’t care?

  2. Chris says:

    Dale, nice recap! I just had the opposite experience with a product and the manufacturer was slow in responding and the end result was unsatisfactory. You can be sure I will not use that product, and there will be a blog coming up!

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