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FOREARMED

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The ominous email warned me of changes to my website – changes I did not make. “If you think this change may have been made in error or fraudulently, please contact us immediately,” it warned. I did one better, and contacted the brilliant web guru we’ve been working with. He couldn’t see my wide-eyed alarm as I typed, “Did you do this?”

In the same click that sent my email, I also received a email from him: “Hey, you might get a message saying we have changed some settings on your account… nothing to worry about.” Whew! Problem solved – no, there was never a  “problem” to begin with.

This Ms. Jones does not like problems, especially those without answers. What’s more, I do not like it when I discover a problem and have to go sleuthing for clues. What’s this charge on my bill? When will the repairman arrive? Where is the product you said would be here last week? How much is this going to cost?

As a business owner myself, I hate it when our customers have to ask us for information. I want to be in front of a problem with a solution prepared in advance, not cleaning up its muddy mess. I don’t like being caught with my pants down.

Do you let Ms. Jones know what’s around the bend? Do you give fair warning about missed deadlines, unexpected costs, a box that arrives in pieces, an employee who royally screwed up her order? The only salvageable scrap from these situations is your reputation and her peace of mind. She might not like to hear it, but she dislikes not hearing even more.

Forewarned is forearmed – or Ms. Jones might just jump to the foregone conclusion that you don’t know what in the world you’re doing.

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