I love seeing a Warrior entrepreneur become successful. And that makes it all the more distressing to see a budding Warrior turn into a Weasel and go down in flames. Unfortunately I saw this situation unfold in my own house over the last few weeks. We had hired a new cleaning service to come in a couple times a week. The new service, run by a mother and daughter team, seemed perfect on the surface. Their marketing materials were professional and seemed to hit the mark for many busy homeowners. No is not in our vocabulary they proclaimed – offering a combination of cleaning and errand services. They promised to keep the house spotless with constant quality control, plus they would do the laundry, take in and pick up the drycleaning, keep the refrigerator stocked with essentials, even take donations to charitable organizations. It all sounded too good to be true – and unfortunately it was.
There were immediately problems. The quality of the work was terrible, people often did not show up, we were overbilled, things were broken, garbage was inexplicably tucked away in the recesses of the garage to rot until we tracked it down from the awful smell, clothing donated to charity somehow never made it to the non-profit world….. every day when we returned from work we experienced a new adventure in what had gone wrong that day.
My wife is an incredibly successful entrepreneur, and she tries to be especially sensitive to women-owned businesses – so in an attempt to be helpful she sat down with the owners, walked them through the issues, and gave them the opportunity to fix the problems. Unfortunately they took no personal responsibility, blamed everything on their employees, but did promise to improve. A few weeks later since the bad service continued we were forced to fire them. At first they seemed a bit shocked – and asked us to reconsider. We’ve been losing a lot of clients lately – so we really wish you would stay on. Of course the we’re losing clients because we are really bad at our jobs so you should stick with us excuse did not play well. In a effort to be helpful, we did layout suggestions on how they might improve, with the promise that if they did get their act together they we might consider working with them in the future.
But instead of taking this advice (there is nobody better to tell you how to improve your business than your customer) – they became angry, and instead decided to barrage us with crazy emails accusing us of being the source of their failure. So they not only lost a client, they have assured there will be no relationship in the future, and we will certainly not provide a reference that did not include the statement great service if you don’t mind a filthy house and garbage tucked into your shelves.
In my book I spend a lot of time talking about Warrior’s tools – the personal attributes, attitudes, and habits that make for successful Warriors. This company will quickly fail for many reasons, but primarily because they failed to use several of their tools properly. The Integrity Tool, The Self Responsibility Tool, and The Personal Brand Tool are essential to success – and the fact that they possess none the three will unfortunately seal their fate.
Delivering on the promise – and not over-promising – are essential attributes of a successful business. Warrior’s take responsibility for the good and the bad. And regardless of whether or not you agree with a client’s complaints – there is seldom if ever anything gained from becoming advisarial with a current or former customer.