With all the shock and furore surrounding the announcement of the winner of the Academy Award for Best film recently, I wonder how many of us can remember who was responsible for the mix-up?

Many will probably think it was one of the two assigned custodians of the envelopes, but do you know who provided the envelope in the first place?

The fact that many probably don't know, or will have forgotten already, has to be at least in part due to the way the PwC public relations team handled the mistake, as Noah Fleming explains in his article below.

Reflecting on this, and how we manage our own customer expectations, it reminded me that their experience is influenced not only by our day-to-day management of the relationship but also by our ability to respond positively when things don't go quite to plan. These type of challenges present us with an opportunity to exceed customer expectations and the chance to really stand out from the crowd. As Winston Churchill once said, "never let a good crisis go to waste".

Customers expect that they will receive a quality product or service, at the right price delivered on time, every time they engage with a supplier. Today, achieving these things alone isn't enough to ensure that they keep coming back for more. So, if we are going to continue to have a successful working relationship with our customers and stay one step ahead of the competition, it's more important than ever to constantly add value to their business.

Whilst many customers seek perfection from their suppliers, the realists would expect, and human nature dictates, that there will be challenges along the way. When faced with such problems, it's important to confront them head-on rather than burying your head in the sand or trying to blame someone else. 

As Noah Fleming touches on below, if mistakes are made then clear communication throughout the process is critical in helping to turn things around.