- Sat, May 28 2011
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
My father and stepmother came to visit me this past week, and while their visit was great, their trip home was unfortunately a debacle. Their first flight home on American Airlines was canceled. They were told they couldn’t fly out that day at all. So American put them on a 6 am flight for the next day—a non-direct flight with a four-hour layover. When they arrived at the airport for the 6 am flight, it was late, then eventually canceled. So they got on another flight that was also late. They nearly missed their connection home. What the heck? Well, when my father got home, he opened the Dallas newspaper to see that 20% of American’s fleet was knocked out due to hail damage. His reaction? Gee, if someone had told me that at any time in the past 48 hours, I would have been far more patient and understanding over the miserable trip home. But no one did.
This is a great example of what NOT to do in the face of something bad. Don’t hide the facts, don’t pretend everything is fine, and don’t cease communicating. Telling the story is always the best choice. Even if you don’t have all the answers, say what you know and don’t know. Because when you’re silent, people assume the worst of you. When you’re open, people usually find empathy.
People need you to:
1. Say what’s happening, directly and clearly
2. Say you’re sorry - and mean it
3. Say what you’re doing to address the problem
4. Try your best to make it right
It’s that simple.