It’s how you recover when things fail that counts

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —February 26, 2010
Filed in Anecdotes, Communication, Leadership Posts

Since we started Anecdote in 2004 our local Kwik Kopy in Coburg has printed most of our posters and workshop materials. Kelvin does a great job. Always high quality, delivered when we need it despite the outrageous time frames we sometimes impose.

That was the case up until this Wednesday. We’d created a high quality handbook to support our Influence Change workshop and I picked them up from Kelvin at 4.30pm ready for the next day. At about 6pm I open the box and my heart sunk. The workbooks looked shoddy. Some of the pages were in the wrong order and all of them had edges that weren’t trimmed and aligned properly. Very unusual for Kelvin. And I needed them for 7.15am the next morning.

I called Kelvin. I could hear his concern in his voice and he came over to my house right away. He apologised, kept extremely calm and said he would set it right. He went back to his store a personally redid our handbooks and arrived back at my place at 10pm with a perfect set.

It’s interesting how we often don’t make a comment when someone provides a great service day in, day out but we really notice when someone recovers well when the chips are down.

So if you are anywhere near Coburg and need printing services I highly recommend Kelvin’s Kwik Kopy shop. Here is his address and contact details.

Kwik Kopy Printing Centre Coburg

Kelvin Minerds

583 Sydney Road, Coburg, VIC 3058

Phone (03) 9354 5822

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:


  1. Pita Norris says:

    That’s true customer service – well done Kelvin!

  2. Anne says:

    It is about how you recover, and sometimes making amends is not enough…
    I had 1500 coloured 8 page brochures printed by a printer who was recommended. Talked through job and signed off on page order in person. Did phone check on finished run and printer read page order from specification not printed booklets. The job was shipped direct to mail house who dutifully posted out glossy pages in nonsense order.
    Printer begrudgingly acknowledged fault, after a couple of conversations with a quite distressed me, reprinted and covered envelopes and rerun costs with mail house. Unpleasant process as I felt like I was dealing with a petulant child hauled to the headmaster’s office. The printer addressed issue but so sullenly, I can not recommend or use again.

  3. Greg says:

    Stories like this make me wonder if an occasional goof-up is good, even necessary for business.
    When the level of service becomes transparent, customers can be lulled into a sense of commodity… a print shop is a print shop is a print shop.
    This story shows the differentiator.

  4. John Tropea says:

    This reminds me of the concept of the “silent hero” in the book the Black Swan. p xxiii
    The thought experiment is that what if cockpit locks were passed as legislation…which could of prevented some consequences of 9-11.
    This person who imposed locks on cockpit doors doesn’t get a statue in the city or recognition, but those who rescued victims during the aftermath did.

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