This weekend, I had a double booking at the Dome Asylum. I hate it when that happens, but not all the channels we use for booking sync with each other and it’s happened before. 

Even though the reservation came in late and I was already in bed with my man, I got up and called our would-be guest. I wanted to let her know as soon as possible so that she could make other arrangements, especially since her reservation was for the next night. I didn’t want her to think her accommodations were handled until the morning when I could call during normal business hours and then be left in a lurch. When we spoke she was understanding and just wanted to make sure she was going to be refunded, since her card had already been charged. I explained that I wasn’t exactly sure how her refund would work, since we were already in the 24 hour cancellation window, but I assured her that I would get an answer and get back to her.

I called our booking company in the morning, during normal business hours, and learned that I would be financially responsible for relocating this guest, as well as incur other penalties that would negatively impact our visibility on their site if she wanted to be relocated. Ugh.

However, what saved my ass was that call the night before when I got into communication as soon as I realized I wasn’t going to be able to honor her reservation. My genuine concern to take care of my customer, which is also at the core of that booking company’s policies, saved me from the penalties. I’m realizing that many punitive policies are there to enforce some integrity in your dealings, but if it’s how you handle yourself anyway, you don’t have to worry!

Another good example of this is calling your lenders, especially credit card companies, as soon as you realize you have missed a payment deadline. Let them know that you just caught the mistake and have, or will send the payment ASAP. Then ask them if they would waive the late fee and/or leave your interest rate alone. If your lateness is not a regular occurrence, calling in and taking preemptive action can save you those costly penalties and interest rate hikes. 

No one wants to initiate conversations that contain bad news but your willingness, actually your bravery, to step forward and address what most people would want to sweep under the rug, is ultimately appreciated. Even if the recipient of the bad news doesn’t like the news in the moment, they will almost always appreciate your being in communication. 

Not all costs are financial.

Another company also had a broken promise this weekend. Delivery of a job was scheduled for Saturday morning and when it became clear that it wasn’t happening, I asked the owner if he had communicated the delay to his customer. His answer was no, with some explanation of the delay and his rationalization for not being in communication. I let it go. Then Monday morning I saw an email from the client asking about the status of his job. Sigh. So I took responsibility for not communicating as soon as I realized the job was going to be late, regardless of wether or not I was asked to. 

However, this customer was already impacted. There was a time that he was unsure about the status of his job and that must have caused some stress. Even though the owner made it right with the customer using his work ethic and charm, the relationship took a bit of a hit in terms of trust, which could’ve been avoided by being in communication as soon as he knew the delivery wasn’t going to happen as scheduled.

Avoiding the delivery of bad news is understandable and communicating when you have broken an agreement can be scary, but it is also courageous. Remember, courage is action in the presence of fear.

Can you remember a time when you got into communication and saved yourself some consequences? Share your stories with us below.