It is so easy to feel that you have to be perfect and professional at all times. There is stiff competition and you have to drive your brand home. Having ambition and passion for your business can easily take precedence over the needs and desires of your customers. Today Reddit is taking a severe beating over just this issue. Customers feel that they have been ignored and their needs neglected. A ‘rebellion’ no less!
I am not going to comment on the specifics of Reddit’s recent woes, I will post this link instead http://www.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/3cbo4m/we_apologize/ and allow you to judge for yourselves. I will, however, jump to their defence on one issue. Being blinded by your vision at the expense of your customers’ requirements does not necessarily make you a bad person or company. It is a double edged sword. It is a wake-up call to change tack and move with the customer base you have earned rather than the audience you intended.
What the statement from Reddit has reminded me is that we are only human. There is no place for perfection in business as that would remove the human element. Poor decisions are made and passion can take over clarity at times. However, Reddit has released an unreserved apology to the loyal customer base. Many won’t be appeased and many will leave for other providers. The lesson here is that even big companies will make mistakes, just know when it is time to say sorry and be clear about what you are sorry for. How you deal with the issue, even belatedly, is the mark of quality in a business venture of any size. Apologising is never easy, but it is a skill that you would be foolish not to accommodate if an apology is warranted.
It is an unforgiving place in the entrepreneurial world, closely scrutinised through the hot lens of social media. Constructive criticism is necessary, but do allow people to simply say ‘I’m sorry, we screwed up’.