I own a small business. Well, not as small as it was 6 years ago, but small nonetheless. Small in the sense that I write down every online sale on a piece of white-lined notebook paper, and type up every single invoice, adding a personalized thank you to each customer. I print off every shipping label, mail every package. Small.
And because customer satisfaction means repeat sales, I strive for perfection with every transaction. Six years…not one lost customer due to dissatisfaction. That’s pretty good, right?
Well, that all changed last week. I blew it. We had a snow storm. I closed my store on a Saturday, which is something I never do. I got a request for an item, and told the customer I’d pull it for her. On Sunday, I came in, pulled the item, but found that I was out of “hold” tags – yet again. Another dilemma of running a small business – being the office manager, managing every aspect of tags and bags and tissue…toilet paper, paper towels, water, coffee…and making sure supplies are stocked.
Which they were not.
So I pulled the item, left it behind the chair, and knew who it was for. No big, right? Wrong. I forgot to tell my mom (who came in to help me out on Sunday) that it was already reserved for someone else. It got sold.
And when I told my customer about the mistake, and offered to order another one, and give it to her at the same sale price, the damage was already done. She was disappointed. She had already planned on wearing that top. She had already looked forward to receiving that pretty pink package from my boutique. And I let her down.
And I lost her.
The silver lining? If you know me, you know I always look for the silver lining in every situation. But this time, there isn’t one. No fix. No way to right a wrong.
There’s a lesson to be learned here. I learned a few: (1) you simply cannot please everyone all of the time, and (2) stock up on “hold” tags.