Monday, July 7, 2014

My kind of town and the truth

By (WT-shared) Inas at wts wikivoyage
 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
If you're a CEO, President, Executive Director, etc. -- or one day wish to be -- please read this message from the head of Raindrop Products.

It's a perfect example of how to treat customers, take responsibility, spell out a path forward, and do public relations around a thorny problem:

Dear Citizens of Webster,

Earlier this year the town of Webster officials made a decision to provide a new Spray Park on the grounds of the Webster Recreation Center. In addition to providing the citizens with a new community gathering place offering a fun, safe aquatic play experience, the officials decided to honor the town’s police officers and firefighters by theming this spray park with custom made spray toys with a “first responders” theme. 

The purchase order was issued for the manufacturing of the custom made pieces with the hopes of having the equipment in place for a July 4th Grand opening. Unfortunately due to unforeseen complications in the production of the products combined with our unwillingness to rush the production potentially jeopardizing our quality standards, the equipment will not be ready in time for Holiday grand opening. 

Your town officials all have done everything within their power to ensure the grand opening deadline was met, the blame for the delays falls squarely on the manufacturer of the equipment. As the president and CEO of the company that was selected to manufacture these products I want to apologize to the Citizens of Webster for our inability to hit the target grand opening. Despite using all available resources to ensure an on time delivery we were unable to meet the deadline. 

When complete, I am certain everyone will enjoy this exciting addition to the town of Webster. We are doing everything we can to ship these products as soon as possible.

Mark Williams
President & CEO
Raindrop Products

Is there anything simpler? Mr. Williams' letter was posted on the Town of Webster (NY's) Facebook page. (Good move; Webster's official web page is pretty ordinary, while Facebook gets abundant traffic.) Mr. Williams' letter is unaltered, with no additional massaging from town officials. So, kudos for the town's leadership for not adding needless spin and placing the message where citizens could find it with ease.

And the community's response? See the screen shot of comments left by Facebook users:

Overwhelmingly positive and understanding.

What business leader couldn't benefit from this level of transparency and truth in dealing with customers?