Character: Build It Here
How to Handle an Irate Client
Back in ’81, I was hired by Arnold W. Jones, Jr., to be his secretary in the Investment Advisory Group at Crocker Bank in San Francisco. Mr. Jones had an office like you’d see in an old movie replete with the heavy Persian rugs, walnut-paneled walls, and a desk big enough for at least four analysts to work around in today’s cubical environment.
One day while taking dictation seated on the other side of this grand old desk, I commented on its magnificence. A smile sprung across his face as he leaned back in his chair to relate the story of this desk.
“This is my grandfather’s desk and the upshot (a word he routinely used) is that this is the very desk that my grandfather sat behind while Mr. Dow sat on the other side as they designed the Dow Jones Industrial Averages.”
Mr. Jones never flaunted his pedigree. One of the first lessons he taught me in business was how to handle an irate client.
“Always take responsibility. Never place blame on someone else. Listen to their issues. Acknowledge their position. Let them know that you will try to resolve it. Follow through.”
Mr. Jones was a class act.