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When a recommendation goes wrong
What do you do?
goingincircles

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3398066 posted 1:15 pm on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I will use the example of computers here, because that is how the situation has arisen for me, but it could be applied to any business.

I was asked by someone who needed a computer who she should use. I recommended someone I have used frequently in the past a local, one-man band type company, and pretty much forgot all about it.

Today, I received a call from the person buying the computer complaining that the service was poor, that it hasn't been delivered yet despite promises to the contrary etc., and asking if I could chase it up.

I wasn't really sure whether I should get involved, but have sent a quick SMS to see what is going on and will probably leave it at that.

My initial reaction on putting the 'phone down was to think "why should I get involved? It's not my business", but then on the other hand was it partly my "fault" that she was in the situation in the first place?

My questions...

What would you do? Should I have just said it's not my problem, or should I have gone to more effort for her?

And would your answer be affected by the size of the company you recommended - e.g. a local one-man band or a national concern?

Finally, is the answer different if the person is a close friend, someone you know in the pub, family member, business contact etc.?

Just interested to see where you think your responsibility should end.

 

Habtom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3398066 posted 1:26 pm on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I recommended someone I have used frequently in the past a local, one-man band type company, and pretty much forgot all about it.

I would say it is better to be very very careful while recommending, if it goes wrong there is little for you to do, as both of those people will be anyway upset with each other and perhaps with you.

vincevincevince

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3398066 posted 1:29 pm on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think it absolutely depends on the person who you gave the recommendation to. If it is a friend of yours then it's probably nice to put in a word to see what's going on. If it is a client of yours whom you value then it certainly doesn't hurt, if it's not going to take more than a negligible amount of your time.

If, on the other hand, it's a former client who's not sent anything big in a while, or a general member of the public then you need to explain your distinct entity from the guy you recommended.

Providing (or mediating) support for someone else blurs perceptions about your link to that other supplier. If you do it too much, people will suspect you have some kind of business interest in the other guy (shares, commission basis, etc.) and will start to demand support from you.

lawman

WebmasterWorld Administrator lawman us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3398066 posted 1:46 pm on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

If the buyer is a friend, I'd make the call to help the friend out.

If the seller is a friend, I'd make the call and let him know he has a dissatified customer.

If neither is a friend, it just depends on how nice of a guy you are. :)

King_Fisher

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3398066 posted 4:39 pm on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Always qualify a recommendation. You can say " they worked OK for me, but check Them out and see what YOU think" and " why don't you ask them for other
recommendations from satisfied customers".

As for getting involved, certainly! You recommended him, steered business his
way, put money in his pocket. He owes you an explanation on whats going on
with the customer you recommended to him.

oneguy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3398066 posted 9:17 pm on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I agree with King_fisher.

What would you do? Should I have just said it's not my problem, or should I have gone to more effort for her?

And would your answer be affected by the size of the company you recommended - e.g. a local one-man band or a national concern?

Although, I will say this matters. I see two things at work here. One, you probably sent them someplace they wouldn't have tried otherwise. Second, if it's a national concern - like a huge company, I'd be of no help. I'm sure Dell would tell me to mind my own business.

If I were dealing with your specific case, I'd try to help, and probably apologize to the unsatisfied customer. No good deed goes unpunished, ya know.

Rosalind

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3398066 posted 10:54 pm on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't believe that any recommendation comes with an offer of support attached. Things change, and a business that was good in the past can go downhill for any number of reasons. So you could just say that your recommendation was based on past experience, but that's no guarantee of a future standard of service.

If that seems a bit short, then go ahead and make some enquiries. But be clear about the boundaries of what you are prepared to do to help this customer, because although your advice turned out to be bad you don't owe compensation for relating your experiences and offering an opinion.

weeks

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3398066 posted 2:43 am on Jul 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

As for getting involved, certainly! You recommended him, steered business his
way, put money in his pocket. He owes you an explanation on whats going on
with the customer you recommended to him.

I agree with this as well. Personal or professional, if someone I recommend fails to come through, it reflects on me. I can tell you that one vendor I recently used on a recommendation from an associate went very badly and it has damaged my opinion of the person who made the recommendation, who simply shrugged when I reported my very poor, very costly experience thanks to his advice.

That's how it works. If you don't take care of your reputation and seek accountability, then who will?

goingincircles

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3398066 posted 11:15 am on Jul 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've been away for a few days.

Interesting... thanks all. I don't want to become someone who only ever passes on information / advice with a caveat, but I think it's probably different for each situation. If I said that I had a good experience with *insert national ISP*, I don't think a friend would expect me to sit on their tech support line if something went wrong. However, if I recommend a local computer 'fixer' who lets them down then I should follow it up - everything in between is a judgement call ;-)

Wouldn't life be dull if everything was simply black and white!

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