Unwelcome Surprises 

business people joining gears

Everyone likes surprises. I know I do. At least, I like fun surprises. You know, like parties, or free marzipan.

To be fair, not all surprises are fun, and most of us don’t like those ones. The series of natural disasters that have assailed British Columbia for a month (although it feels a lot longer) was certainly an unwelcome surprise, and I’ve written about that elsewhere.

One unpleasant surprise that was smaller in scope than a natural disaster happened to me a couple of weeks prior to those events. I got an email from one of the contacts at one of my clients, asking for an update on the status of one of their purchase orders. Only one problem: I didn’t have any record of it.

After a couple of minutes of searching, I found the email with their purchase order. It was in Outlook’s Junk folder. It had been there for two weeks. Why Outlook suddenly and arbitrarily decided that an email from an address that I’ve corresponded with many times is suddenly now spam and consigned to the bin is a mystery.

I was mortified.

But I did what you do in those situations: you fix it. I coordinated with my category manager to ensure that the client’s requirements were met as quickly as possible. Then I called the client (some conversations need more than just an email), explained what happened, apologized profusely and let them know I was making things happen for them.

Fortunately, it was a relatively small order and it wasn’t time-sensitive. The client actually thought it was funny and appreciated my candor and being proactive to get things done.