BY BILL FAETHLast month, I shared an experience that my client Mark had with a local affiliate as a first-time client for a DMC and its coordinator.
As a refresher: The motorcoach Mark had booked with the affiliate was not on location for the pickup, even though the affiliate was contacted 15 minutes before the scheduled pickup time and he was assured the coach was in the correct location. After a somewhat frantic call from the DMC wondering why the coach was driving in the opposite direction, Mark contacted the affiliate again to determine why the vehicle was not where it was supposed to be at the appointed time.
Mark wasn’t sure how to handle this situation. The DMC was a first-time client, and he regularly farmed out jobs to this particular affiliate. He needed to reach amicable resolutions, not burn bridges.
Fortunately for Mark, his affiliate stepped up to the plate, admitted that the communication breakdown was their fault, and accepted the accountability. The affiliate only charged Mark for two hours of service on the four-hour charter, and both parties continue to do business with each other.
This particular DMC coordinator is one of the most well-known in Mark’s city and just so happens to be on the board of the local Meeting Professionals International (MPI) association. Her prominence in the local business community, coupled with a flawed first experience using Mark’s company, put him in an especially awkward position.
The DMC offered a lot of long-term value to Mark’s company, and his reputation was at stake. He needed to act swiftly to resolve the issue to the coordinator’s satisfaction, or he risked losing future business opportunities with her. Mark followed my advice and drove to her office to apologize for the error in person, without making any excuses or blaming the affiliate, and gave her a complimentary trip.
Mark had already remedied the situation with his affiliate by this point, so he had a clear understanding of what his costs for the trip would be. This allowed him to make a more sound financial decision that impacted the short-term and long-term relationship with the DMC.
This presented him with an opportunity to do one of two things: either thank her for her business and keep the additional profit gained from the affiliate crediting two of the four hours, or explain the situation and self-report the issue to the client.
Mark chose the second option and took the blame for the late arrival—and the client was impressed that he did so within 30 minutes of the coach’s late arrival. She was thankful that Mark kept her informed, but more importantly, for driving to her office to talk about it in person. Mark even took it a step further by comping the entire trip. In an attempt to win the DMC’s long-term business, this completely unexpected act showcased how Mark truly runs his business.
“She was blown away and couldn’t thank me enough,” Mark told me after the incident.
Mark handled a tough situation perfectly. He made the decision to invest in the long-term relationship with his affiliate and risk the short-term revenue loss by paying for half of the trip out-of-pocket.
And it paid off. Since you read the last article in this two-part series, Mark’s new client has booked two more multi-day trips with him, generating more than $12,000 in revenue.
Mark decided to play the long game instead of taking the short-term revenue, and it worked out for him. Now, he’s acquired a valuable client because he turned a bad situation into a positive one by acting quickly, resolved the issue to the client’s satisfaction—not his own—and made it personal by showing up in person. [CD0617]
Bill Faeth is founder and president of Inbound Marketing Agents in Nashville and founder of Limo University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.