Saturday, 2 July 2011

How a positive attitude can turn problem into opportunity...

..or a bad outcome turned good...

Background

Go along with me a moment so you get a feel for how I felt...
I recently wrote a tutorial / guide for Zazzle storekeepers who were new to Zazzle's design templates and quick create tool.

I put in a huge amount of effort to produce a quality guide with as wide a reach as possible. I went through a proper review process, where volunteers of different skill levels tried it out (from self-professed dummy level to 'old hands' at the game) and gave their feedback publicly on the Zazzle forum topic dedicated to it.

All the feedback was then used to amend and polish the final product.

The knock-back

So I was really upset at first when one of Zazzle's high-profile pro-seller storekeepers somehow took offence at the fact I was selling the guide. It seemed to be down to the fact that she (and others) provide guides covering similar topics for free (with the sort of quality you get with 'free'). And all this was without actually having seen the guide!

Even allowing for the fact that things that folks write can often come across much more aggressively than was meant, or can even be completely misinterpreted, the sheer "acidity" of tone and content quite upset me for a while.

A great example of a positive attitude?

I gave an initial polite response (I am British after all!) and then mulled it over for a few days, trying to see some form of positive in it.

Then it came to me. First, there's no smoke without fire - so I needed to understand the stripped-down essentials of what she was saying and then see if she was either expressing a legitimate concern or had misunderstood something.

Secondly, if one person is thinking that and actually saying it, there's probably many more who are staying silent.

So by thinking laterally about it, I found a way to
  • let others judge for themselves and then provide feedback, helping waverers make up their minds
  • keep the discussion thread on the front page so folks who might have been put off get a chance to see that they actually can judge for themselves
  • A chance to do a promotion on my guide and keep it in the eye of potential customers
Given these great benefits to me, manners and an honest sense of gratitude behove me to thank the very person who initially upset me.

A great outcome, don't you think? How would you have handled it?

Have a great rest-of-weekend
~~Mark (Highton Ridley)