This was the dilemma one of our regional managers faced.
Seems his boss, our VP of Sales and my direct report, inflated database processing fees to our largest client and the regional manager knew the client was beginning an audit. He felt there was going to be repercussions and decided to resign rather than address the situation.
When I heard of his resignation I asked to meet. He told me about the inflated fee's and stated he didn’t want to take the blame for loosing the account. My response was…
“I don’t care if you resign, but don’t do it until we both visit the client and address this problem head on. We must do the right thing and if we loose the account so be it… at least we had the moral strength to correct a wrong”. He said OK and arranged the meeting.
The meeting was tough and deservedly so. When it was my turn to speak I apologized on behalf of the company. I told them that, as COO, I had taken corrective action and this would never happen again… then I authorized:
- $150,000 credit to be used on any of our products or services (this was double the amount they were overcharged)
- Our new communication product at NO Charge for 6-months, all 7,000 of their sites. In addition I agreed to personally make the announcement at an upcoming state conference they were chairing
- You need to have courage to do the right thing especially when things are difficult
- If you take corrective action and address problems head-on positive things can happen
This was one of those occasions… we didn’t loose the client and we closed an order that day. After 6-months of free service we received a license fee order totaling $245K/year for those 7,000 sites.