When things go wrong

By Kim Browne


It’s funny how, when things go wrong, they do so in threes. Now, I’m not a superstitious type — we launched Twisted Toast Digital on the 1st of April, have regular Friday the 13th parties and I really like black cats — but there’s definitely something in this “things come in threes” theory.

As with everything in life, there are always learnings. The interesting thing for me is not necessarily that bad things happen, but how they’re handled.

I have three stories, starting with my car, which is out of maintenance (ouch!) Having driven my car for six years, I noticed that intermittently, it would randomly lose power. A hard one to explain, until my husband David drove the car and experienced the same thing. He took it in to the dealer we’ve used forever and they gave us bad news. Very bad news. It was going to cost a fortune to fix.

However, as we are such loyal clients, the service manager spoke to those higher up in the pecking order and they decided to forgo the labour cost to bring the cost down substantially. Mercedes-Benz there and then earned a loyal client in both David and I. Naturally I’ve shared this story with a number of people, all of whom have been impressed.

The second incident relates to me dropping my iPhone. This should not have been anything more than mildly irritating, as I had continued my insurance with Vodacom when I got my phone upgrade. In fact, I’ve always paid for insurance on my phone and had never claimed. Vodacom told me my phone was unfixable but I only had to pay 10% excess. But there was one little problem, the phone was under-insured and my excess was R6 400! Further, it was my responsibility as a client, to keep abreast of the escalating cost of the phone equivalent and I should have out of my own increased my insurance…

There’re so many shades of wrong in this. After much agony and pain, my phone was actually fixable (with my excess pegged at R150). For the first time through this whole saga, when I went to collect the fixed phone the sales assistant informed me that I could actually renew my contract early (by seven months) and get a new, free iPhone…

Needless to say, I cancelled my insurance with immediate effect (R149.00 a month) and am waiting for my contract to end. Vodacom will definitely not see me again. I actually laughed when I looked at my statement properly — in the top right hand corner it identifies me as a “high value customer” — not!

It was also gratifying to see that it’s not only me. When I posted a Facebook status update, I was amazed to see how many people have been caught in the same way.

My last story is one of fantastic service from a supplier to Twisted Toast Digital. We recently designed, manufactured and installed beautiful wallpaper art for a client’s internal launch. But there was a problem with the wallpaper medium; the physical material was too hard. The result was wallpaper that just did not adhere to the walls properly, creating a finished application that both the client, Twisted Toast Digital and primary supplier were not happy with.

The supplier, at their cost, re-printed the wallpaper and re-applied on the Saturday of the long weekend, so as not to inconvenience the client further in a high traffic area. On finding out the other wallpaper was also not acceptable, this too will be replaced.

Yes, something went wrong, but the supplier immediately committed to fixing it, at significant cost to themselves. Now that is service that deserves loyalty! We will continue using DPi Concepts as a preferred supplier and recommend them without hesitation.

Kudos must also go to the client who was understanding through this whole process. (The situation was further complicated by the stationery printers needing to reprint two elements.) I said things come in threes…

We all love happy endings and our client’s internal launch was a huge success in spite of the hiccups. A staff member phoned the agency to compliment us on our work. Also, not an everyday occurrence.

We’re growing, we’re learning about business challenges and we’re having fun.

A last note – happy birthday to us for next week (Tuesday, 01 April). We’re celebrating turning three ☺