A couple of weeks ago, I had myself video taped doing a presentation of my new program, “Cultivating Employee Accountability.” I needed a clip to put on my website so potential clients can get a taste of what they would get if they book me to speak or provide training for them. Since I live in Phoenix, and this presentation would be in Denver, I went on line and found a few videographers in the Denver area who would do it at what I thought to be a reasonable price. I ended up hiring 4th Kind Entertainment of Denver.
It was a little scary to do this because I didn’t know their work and had never met them. But, I liked the owner Curt Donohue when we negotiated the deal over the phone. As I expected, he and his crew arrived at the venue early, set up their very professional appearing equipment and seemed to really know what they were doing. When the engagement was done, Curt gave me a hard disc to take home and I gave him my Amex Card to pay for it.
So far, so good. Unfortunately, when I got home and turned the disc over to Jay Allen, the video editor I use in Phoenix, he reported that the sound track on the video was faulty, and that we’d be lucky to get any usable footage. So, of course, I called Curt to report the problem. I expected him to argue with me or avoid any fault. To my delight, he graciously apologized and asked what he could do to make it right.
I had originally planned to ask Curt for my money back, but that wouldn’t make up for the fact that the opportunity to capture the program on tape had passed. Fortunately, I had another engagement planned two weeks later in Fort Collins, CO, which is about an hour’s drive north of Denver. I suggested that if he could tape me doing that program at no charge, we could call it even. He quickly agreed and that’s what we did.
Curt’s Accountability Paid Off
Now I know that this was a big sacrifice for Curt. He’s a small operator, and although he didn’t make any money on this make-up taping, he still had to pay his crew plus any incidental expenses.
And that, of course is the cost of recovery when we fail to please our customers. I suspect, however, that it seemed worth it in Curt’s mind because his accountability paid off in spades. He lives on word-of-mouth advertising. In this case, his efforts just bought him an ad in this blog. Additionally, I’ll tell anyone who’ll listen that if they need a video guy in Colorado, Curt’s the guy to call.
But there’s another lesson to be learned here. By making this right for me, his customer, Curt set a standard for his crew that they will surely remember the next time a situation presents itself where they could either cut corners on a project or take responsibility to do the right thing. And isn’t that what leadership is all about?