Industry News

When you encounter a small service issue with a supplier, how do you handle it?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from more than 200,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

When you encounter a small service issue with a supplier, how do you handle it?

  • I always let it go -- there are bigger things to spend time and energy on: 14%
  • I let it go once, but after that, I bring it up for repeat offenses: 53%
  • I bring it up immediately -- it needs to be nipped in the bud: 33%

Fix issues quickly. Most of you let one small service issue slide, but after that, you’re on top of it. Another large portion of you get on top of service issues immediately. It’s helpful to all involved when expectations are clear. For those who let things slide, consider a different approach. If there’s a service issue and your supplier isn’t aware of it, they’re not able to fix it. The result is ongoing problems, frustration and, eventually, their loss of a customer, but they don’t know why. It’s unfair to not let them know there are issues they can improve upon. So the next time there’s an issue and you don’t want to bring it up because it’s uncomfortable, consider how much more uncomfortable it’ll be down the road when you end the relationship and the supplier has no idea why -- or they say, “I wish you had told me about these issues sooner.”

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, which includes TITAN -- the firm’s e-learning platform. Previously, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a West Point graduate and author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."