What To Do When Everything Breaks At The Worst Time

I was working with an Ed Tech client who was having trouble simplifying the on-ramp for new customers.

The interface looked friendly, but there were a lot of features and you had to learn a lot of new jargon to really get the benefits.

Plus, it was super buggy because they had just pushed a new version that wasn’t rigorously tested.

So as part of being a consultant, I was working through the on-boarding workflow with a live customer.

It made sense when I walked her through everything but then, later in the week, when she needed it most, the software broke.

She emailed me in a panic saying she wasn’t going to have her charts for her big meeting on Friday.

I worked through it with her and got her half of the way there. I got her the data but she has to make her one charts in excel because our tool wouldn’t be fixed in time for her meeting.

She said “it’s okay, I’ll just have to use my old excel charts. I was just really excited to look cool in front of everyone at the meeting.”

But here’s where it gets good.

Immediately after we hung up, I ordered a pair of wayfarer-style sunglasses (in the color of Ed Tech company’s branding) and sent them to her office, making sure they’d arrive on Thursday.

I also included a message saying: “thanks for your patience as we fix or software. We’re super bummed that it broke right when you needed it most. That was so frustrating and we’re in the process of improving our testing environment so these massive bugs don’t hit users. In the meantime, I hope these sunglasses help you look cool in your big meeting. You have the data you need to melt faces and blow minds. Go get ‘em.”

Do you see what happened?

It took a little extra time and about 15 minutes.

She emailed me on Friday morning saying that our company was the best. She was bragging to her co-workers about how we handled the situation and that she knew we were in an early stage where bugs were normal. She was going to stick through it with us because we believed in the same thing and gestures like this really made her feel like we had her back.


Customer for life.

And it cost $14 on Amazon.

2 Minute Action

Maybe you don’t have customers, maybe you do.

Maybe you have students, or attendees, or subscribers.

Pick someone who doesn’t seem to be having a good day or maybe who had it rough yesterday.

Take 2 minutes to do something special for someone.

You don’t need to spend a lot of (or any) money.

You just need to make them feel special like you’re on the same team.

Because that’s how we make the world better, right?

By bringing people closer together.

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