I’m sure you’ve noticed that despite all of your planning, from time to time, things seem to go wrong.
You book a flight scheduled to leave at 9:00 AM, that’s your Plan “A”, but the flight is delayed 90 minutes and now you are in the gravitational pull of Plan “B”. You have to let your client know. Make sure your ground transportation knows and maybe give the hotel a call if they were expecting you at a certain time.
You are out to dinner and a very pleasant wait person takes your order. The meals arrive only your meal is incorrect, in fact, it’s not even close. There is the perfunctory apology and they hurry back to the kitchen. Your dining partner’s food is getting cold so you provide the apparently needed permission for them to dine ahead of you. You are now in the throngs of a Plan “B” dining experience.
Most Plan “B’s”, not all, but most, revolve around something bad. Bad is an interesting condition and it creates its own form of energy, let’s call it bad gravity. Like gravity, bad can be very powerful and can actually hold the entire experience together, much like mass and speed create an orbit. The mass and speed of bad is a power to behold and once it starts, it takes very little effort to maintain and incredible amounts of energy to escape from. One bad thing seems to attract other bad things and after the door cracks open to let bad in, the second bad beast is nipping at its heals. Bad creates negativity as fast as a snowball rolling down hill.
Now good on the other hand requires a staggering amount of energy, Good is like a gas guzzling Hummer. It takes a lot to keep it going. Good requires attention. It needs action and vigilance. It is a constant crying baby starving for attention. That’s why we are always a little stunned when good hits us. Good is often hanging on by just a thread.
A general contractor shows up on time and does a project on budget and on schedule (my hero). A package arrives a little ahead of schedule (thanks Amazon). Plan “A” is tough, but if you are looking for market separation, the most impactful methods of differentiation in your crowded market, try to focus on giving your clients and customers a consistent and strong Plan “A”. If you find yourself being drawing into a black hole of bad, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING and respond immediately. No matter what you are doing, bad needs instantaneous action. It is the only way to pull yourself out of the tug of giving your client, Plan “B”.
There is power in your comeback from the first inkling of bad, but only if it is quick enough to stop its downward spiral. If you can get to it fast and if your actions are simple, powerful and elegant, you can actually turn the first sign of bad into something that can build a level of loyalty. Bad to good requires quick, nimble responses.
Your client experience should ALWAYS be a strategic priority.
The pull of Plan “B” might often be out of your control, but your response NEVER IS.