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Take responsibility, even if someone else is at fault

Are you responsible for other people’s mistakes? The seller did. What do I mean? Well… The other day I was contacted by a salesperson from the profile company Company Line. We have some orders with them for promotional items, i.e. items bearing one of our brands.

I thought: what now, is there something wrong?

Yes, or no, the question was whether I should really have the logo that I approved on the proof.

A proof is for writing the text, drawing the image, or showing how it will look on the device where they will print it. The purpose of the proofreading is to allow the customer to agree that it looks good. Then you just have to go. Or?

But…what happens if the customer approved the error?

Suit yourself!

Well, that would be wrong, wouldn’t it? It will be what the customer ordered. Just get on with it, right or wrong, and once the customer has said “yes”, we go…?

Well, it turns out that it wasn’t quite right. I had made a mistake. I had mixed up the logos so the wrong logo ended up on the wrong gadget. I could have paid for the error as I had approved the proof.

But, in this case, a responsible person stepped in and thought twice. He was the one who had to do the actual printing. He could have just kept going, but felt that something was wrong. Better check again, he must have thought. Better one time too many than to get it wrong.

Very true. It was wrong. It saved the whole edition from being completely wrong. I had made a mistake when I approved the proof. But the employee of the supplier took an extra responsibility.

No one could have accused him of wrongdoing if he had just kept going. Because the customer, i.e. me, had approved the proof.

Moreover, stopping and thinking is costly in the production flow. Of course, it was not only our order he was dealing with today, but many others. Stopping and rearranging the production, that’s what makes it difficult for them.

And that is exactly the moral of the story.

Take responsibility

This person took extra responsibility because he really wanted to get it right. Because he thought that it’s not fun for the customer, or himself, when the customer gets it wrong. We can see it as poor quality, even though it was the customer who messed up. But the atmosphere is so bad if it’s wrong, regardless of who messed up.

He took responsibility beyond what could really be asked of him. He “messed up” his own production, but to the benefit of a very satisfied customer in this case.

With the right attitude and care for the customer, you will also get so much further in your business. Do you have such individuals among you, who are prepared to think a little further, to take a little more responsibility? Maybe you have experienced something similar yourself?

Seeing a satisfied customer, whatever it is called, is like the whole purpose of a business.

Good luck satisfying your customers in the coming week.