The manufacturing process is often much more complex than an end user would ever dream.  If you’ve seen photographs of a shipyard full of containers, or watched a port where one of those huge vessels unloads them, you were likely in awe.  Now if that scene is somewhere between an Indonesian farmer harvesting silk, an embroiderer sewing a logo, and a mechanical seamstress assembling an outfit based on a computerized model, it would be next to impossible not to marvel.

Now add an error in the process. Throw in a mistake.

When completed goods arrive at their final destination, we always hope the finished product meets all the requirements and standards it was meant to fill. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.  Sometimes the farmer blames the weather, the embroider blames the fabric or a dye, and a programmer blames the writer of the specs.  It could be that all of them would blame something mysterious on the ship, in the container, or perhaps on the rail on which it traveled.  When that happens, remember what your mother taught you when she said, “Honesty is the best policy”.

Too often, companies try to place the blame on some component of the manufacturing process and insist the fault wasn’t where we prefer to point. However, when companies take responsibility for their failings despite where all the players may be in the process,  buyers and users will typically respect the candor. That honesty has value.  The immediate consequence could be a lost profit, a lost sale, an irritated customer. The benefit comes from the lasting impression made when companies try to make good on their merchandise.  Products come and go, so remember that good customers remember when they were treated fairly and are more likely to return and recommend.  Rather than considering it a loss, consider it an investment in the future.

The next time you hear someone ask, “Where can I get a So-and-so.” You may very well here it answered along these lines, “Try  XYZ. I bought something from them and it wasn’t right, but they were honest and made it right.”  In others words, the seller remembered, “Honesty is the best policy.”

Now they have a good customer, a customer who trust them.