On August 6, 2012

What an interesting way to treat a customer who takes the time to write to you and tell you that your service isn’t up to scratch.  Rather than write and thank the customer, Rex decides to write an insulting letter back (Australian Financial Review, p 11, 31 July 2012).

The article includes phrases from a letter written to the customer by Rex’s General Manager of Corporate Service, Irwin Tan.

“If, as you say, you find the conditions unsatisfactory, why did you accept them in the first place?  I would be curious to know if you would reimburse any of your patients that do not get well after seeing you?  If you don’t, why not?

AFR, 31 July, P11

How do organisations avoid being the topic of the day in the newspaper and on blogs like this?  It’s really simple and commonsense.  There is a children’s book called Water Babies, written by Reverend Charles Kingsley in 1862.  In the book, there is a character called Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby. 

It makes good business sense to adopt these principles and treat internal and external stakeholders in a way that one would like to be treated.  While it seems simple in theory, many organisations find it hard to deliver. 

It used to be one of the intangibles, but as measurement tools like ORDA start to become more mainstream, it is becoming easier to determine if your organisation is adopting Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby’s principles.

 If you don’t know how people in your team are treating others, then you’re flying blind and should expect a visit from her sister, Mrs Doneasyouwouldbedo. 

Mrs Doneasyouwouldbedo tends to appear in the form of retribution from unhappy stakeholders like Dr Thorburn who can use social or traditional media to reveal the poor practices that organisations have shown towards them or towards other people. 

So what’s the learning?  The most important thing is to treat people with respect, as you would want to be treated.  If there is a problem, try to sort it out before it escalated on the web.  And of course, try to avoid creating the problem in the first place.