What Matters is How Your Handle it

NASA once made a mistake when a project’s measurements were done in standard, rather than metrics. The total cost of that blunder was $250 million.

In 1999, a little start-up business called Google was offered to (then) number 2 search engine, Excite, for $750,000. Excite declined, as they didn’t want to use Google’s platform. And now Google is worth $197.30 billion.

In 1977, a United States patent was approved for a camera that held photos on a tiny cassette-like, piece of plastic. However, the owners of that patent never invested in developing the world’s first digital camera, rather, they continued with what they knew; film. Today, Kodak could have been the powerhouse they once were had they not made that little mistake.

All businesses make mistakes, but thankfully, most don’t cost millions or even billions of dollars. Yes, we needed to say that. It makes our blunder sting a bit less.

Running a promotions business is like any other business. We have clients that sign contracts with us and we go to work creating, hosting, moderating, judging and fulfilling sweepstakes and contests. It’s up to us to follow the laws set forth by different states in regard to sweepstakes. It’s our responsibility to be certain that no contest entrants cheat and that every single entry abides by the rules. We also take on the responsibility of determining winners, making sure those winners qualify to win the prize and we send the coveted prizes to those winners.

Everything we do for our clients is offered up in custom, creative packages along with a meticulously drafted contract.

Ah yes, the contract; those iron-clad agreements made between businesses and clients that ensure everyone does their part in the arrangement. Our contracts with our clients are pretty basic with little fine print; you hire us to create and administer your promotion, you pay us and we do our job. Simple, right?

You would think so.

But contracts are created by humans and humans, being the imperfect beings that we are, make mistakes. Sometimes, wires get crossed, things are misunderstood and all of a sudden you find yourself standing in the middle of a big business blunder.

We recently had the pleasure of creating and administering a sweepstake for a big client. The grand prize was one of the top, most coveted prizes people seek…. an all-expense-paid trip. And that trip was valued at $2,500. We determined the grand prize winner, sent them their affidavit of eligibility and prepared to make this person, and our client, very happy.

But then we were contacted by the client and told that they had picked their winner and was ready for us to take care of the fulfillment of the prize.

Whoops.

Apparently, those human wires got crossed and the client chose their grand prize winner although it was our job to do so. After all, that’s part of our promotional packages. So, now we have 2 grand prize winners, a client insisting that their winner be awarded and only a single trip to give away. The solution to this predicament is simple, there’s a contract and therefore, all must abide by that contract.

Well, that’s how most businesses would handle things. You know the types, the faceless big-business machines that see clients as numbers and pass off complaints to a dozen different departments until the client gets tired of dealing with the run-around and gives up.

Clients aren’t numbers, as numbers are precise. Clients are people; human beings that are out there in the world, pushing hard and making a living all the while making little mistakes and missteps along the way. And businesses, the ones that are run by humans, they make mistakes too.

Sure, we could have wasted time pointing fingers and asking who read the contract and who didn’t and why. We could have argued about who was right and who was wrong. But in the end, the most important things to us were our client and those two, over-the-moon, excited trip winners that were likely packing their luggage the second they were notified of their amazing luck.

So, we awarded both of the winners a trip, the extra trip being paid for out of our pocket.

$2,500 is a substantial chunk of change for a small business. However, if that client returns to us for their next promotion or better yet, they refer us to other clients that come to us for their promotional needs, that $2,500 is a mere drop in the bucket. Besides, it’s not like we turned down J.K. Rowling, as Harper Collins and Penguin did, missing out on a $19 billion dollar payday.

We simply put our clients first.

And isn’t that what good customer relations are all about?

If your business is in need of a powerhouse promotions firm, run by humans who absolutely love what they do, contact us so we can put together your next big sweepstakes or contest. And remember, we do it all for you, from creation to prize fulfillment, so you can concentrate on the important things.