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4 TIPS to keep clients happy when plans blow up … or up, up, and away

By November 19, 2013December 27th, 2019No Comments

Have you ever messed up with a client? Perhaps something beyond your control goes awry and before you know it, your client’s satisfaction is up in the air. 

This week, a colleague named “Sharon” wrote to me to relay an incident that really struck her. It was a wonderful example of great customer service. It’s also worth noting that this lady was so impressed with what she saw, she took a moment to email me about it. And that’s how it works … good news travels and reputations are built.

What are you doing to build your reputation?

Here’s what Sharon told me:
SHARON’S STORY: “A co-worker received a beautiful arrangement of flowers from her husband today to celebrate their 7th anniversary. Since I was the person who signed for the flowers (I wasn’t aware that anything was awry) and I delivered them to my co-worker. She called her husband to thank him and found out that there was to be a balloon included with the flowers. Her husband called the florist to let him know that the balloon was missing from the arrangement. The company advised him that they would deliver this to his wife.
“About 30 minutes later, sure enough the missing balloon arrived (and it was being delivered by the owner of the company himself). I called my coworker to the reception area as this gentleman wanted to speak with her directly. The owner explained what had happened – that the balloon has been caught up by the wind (especially on such a windy day as today) and blew away before the delivery driver could catch it. Not only did the owner deliver the balloon, but included several additional roses along with a small gift certificate to be used towards another purchase from their store.
Cheers, Sharon M. (London, Ontario)”
Sharon, thanks for sharing this story. You’re right — it doesn’t happen often — and that’s exactly what makes for great customer service. It’s a surprise! And it’s an opportunity for the company to stand head and shoulders above its competition and differentiate itself.

This florist company did it right. And here’s why:

  1. they assumed responsibility and wasted no time getting defensive
  2. they offered an explanation, not an excuse
  3. they responded immediately
  4. they “made it right”, and then some — they over-delivered. They not only delivered what was originally promised–they delivered something above and beyond. In doing so, they recognized the inconvenience and disappointment that the client experienced.

When something goes wrong for your clients, how do you respond?

Or do you? If you’re not doing all four steps above, you’re missing an opportunity to flip a negative into a positive, to change a disappointment into a wonderful surprise. Consider complaints as free marketing research and your moment to shine. Do you take it?

If you have wonderful stories of how you’ve handled things-gone-wrong for clients, I’d love to hear them! Just email me I look forward to celebrating your wonderful customer service and how you used these occasions to deepen the connections between you and your clients. 


Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Helping biz people find solutions to workplace communication challenges.
Better communication, better business, better life.

Recipient of APEX “Award for Leadership in Service Innovation”

© 2013 Marion Grobb Finkelstein\

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Communication catalyst, author, professional speaker Marion Grobb Finkelstein teaches individuals and organizations across Canada and beyond, how to connect with clients, colleagues, employees and bosses, and how to handle workplace communication challenges to improve morale, confidence and productivity. Chat with her and sign up for her FREE weekly”Marion’s Communication Tips” at

Marion Grobb Finkelstein

Marion Grobb Finkelstein helps leaders use their natural communication strengths to build resilient teams that talk.

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