1. Issue “Taking Care Of Customers When Things Go Wrong”
  2. Balanced Scorecard “corner”
  3. Take One Action
  4. Interesting links
  5. My Free and Laughing Blog
Taking Care Of Customers When Things Go Wrong

With the best of intentions, management, processes and team members, things will go wrong. Yes, we will upset our customers sometimes. That’s a given. What’s not given is how we deal with it. I recently had an experience with the Toronto Transit Commission that reminded me of this.

Heading home with a friend visiting Toronto, an announcement in the subway advised that our station, Sheppard-Yonge, would be bypassed. We, along with hundreds of weary souls eager to get home, had to figure out alternative routes. At the next station, a bus pulled up, the driver got off and the masses surged to get on. We saw others grabbing transfer tickets and did the same. We were on our way home! Not so fast – the driver of the bus to which we transferred refused to accept our transfers as the time had expired. We explained to deaf ears and a rude mouth, as he dismissed us with “People do this all the time”, thus questioning our integrity. I paid, determined not to prolong an argument for the sake of 2 subway tokens. Later that evening, still miffed, I reported the incident online at the TTC website.

Within 12 hours i.e. first thing the next morning, Tara from the TTC called, profuse with apologies and advised that the employee would be disciplined and that she would mail me 2 tokens. And she did. So how do you think I feel about the TTC? Am I still upset at the driver? NO – I am just delighted at the service I received, my 2 tokens and the lessons I was reminded of for all who have customers:

  1. Things will go wrong, so make sure that you design a process for dealing with such instances
  2. Make it easy to complain. The TTC website offers an easy way to report complaints.
  3. Quick response is critical. Contrast Tara with another organization I am now dealing with. I ordered products online and they indicated that shipping is “usually within 1 business day”. I received the order 1 week later, and 1 item was incorrect. As instructed, I e-mailed them. 3 days (and counting) I haven’t even received an acknowledgement. How likely do you think I will be to do business with them again?
  4. Fix the problem and offer something for the trouble the customer experienced. Yes, it’s only 2 tokens, valued at Cdn$6.00, but that gesture did so much to let me know that the TTC cares.

View your customer mishaps and complaints as gifts – gifts to help you improve and get closer and closer to “perfect” customer service, as well as opportunities to deepen your relationships with them.



The Balanced Scorecard articulates how you will move from where you are now, to where you want to be. This typically requires that you make some targeted interventions, as it becomes clear during the process that continuing to do what you are doing will not close the gap. The Strategic Initiatives are the key projects that close the gap. Strategic Initiatives come with a cost that has to be incurred before the benefit is realized. Too often I have seen organizations develop their strategy and then not implement the initiatives due to lack of funding. So how do we ensure that Strategic Initiatives get funded?

The basic elements of your expenditure budget are Operational and Capital. Operations take care of the expenditures required for your existing business to continue. Capital expenditure covers any new capital projects. A Balanced Scorecard best practice is the Strategy Expenditure Budget, or “Stratex”. This should be a separate line item to fund Strategic Initiatives. Doing this ensures that:

  1. Strategic initiatives will be resourced;
  2. If there is a budget shortfall, it guides you as to what is important and cannot be cut;
  3. A clear signal is sent to the entire organization that you are serious about the new strategy and the implementation of the Strategic initiatives.



Call a customer who has had a poor experience with your organization. Apologise for what happened, ask how you can correct the situation, offer amends and then, with your team, critically review the relevant service delivery process to ensure that it does not happen again.


As leaders trying to improve our communication, we sometimes think we should talk more. Not at all.
To improve communication, shut up and LISTEN more – our body was designed that way – 1 mouth, 2 ears – to listen twice as much as we talk – click to view article

How do you deal with dissent in your team? Do you encourage it, ignore it or sanction it?
The dissenters in your team play a valuable role in pointing out where you are going wrong. Listen to them! Perhaps the work you do with them is less about getting them to keep quiet and more about helping them to voice differing opinions in a less adversarial way. – click to view article



Here is my most recent blog.

The joy of putteringclick HERE for post