A Lesson in Integrity and Professionalism

Recently, I ran into a rather interesting (though slightly awkward) situation that I want to share with you. My reason for sharing this story is to highlight a few principles that are worth remembering.

Late one night this week I received an email that appeared to be from a real human, but was clearly spam. In that email, the guy sending it said that he had noticed that I had checked out a certain site/product but that he was their competitor and that his product was superior to theirs. While I wasn’t surprised that he was spamming me, I was appalled at how brazen he was in referencing his competitor and in thinking I wouldn’t notice or care.

Sensing that this was spam, I immediately responded to his inquiry by asking how he obtained my email addy. But, I also copied his “competitor,” whom he had referenced in his spam email. Needless to say, he has yet to respond. That’s what spammers do.

The “competitor” (how the spammer described them) responded to my email very quickly. He too, was appalled that this had happened and committed to me that he and his team would investigate this incident vigorously to ensure that there were no security breaches and to try and shut this spammer down. The “competitor” is ConceptShare, a web-based design collaboration tool engineered for the unique needs of creative professionals. You can check them out here.

So, I’d like to talk about ConceptShare and some things they did well.

  1. They responded quickly to a sensitive and awkward situation. They did not shy away from a conversation with me. Two of their team members both pinged me in what seemed like minutes after I copied them into the email exchange. They were intentional in their follow-up and communication. There is no substitute for actually connecting with people and being responsive to them. That’s what pros do.
  2. They were straight up in stating what they knew for certain, what they suspected and what they felt a need to further investigate. This is the kind of communication that resolves problems rather than fuels them. State what you know, but commit to doing your homework when you don’t know.
  3. They gave me a 3-month free trial (their normal trial is 1 month) as a token expression of their appreciation for me taking the time to alert them about this spammer and his tactics. They were under no obligation to do so—they just did. A nice gesture that said to me, “Hey, we are professionals who value integrity, and we appreciate that you value integrity, so here’s one on us!”

So, I think it would help us to be reminded of a few things from the guys at ConceptShare.

When issues happen (as they often do), we should be quick and intentional about clarifying our concerns, communicating with all parties involved and going the extra mile to make things right. This approach is not only professional, but it’s right.

[Full disclosure: I currently have absolutely no ties (and never have) with ConceptShare. While I can’t speak to the quality of their product, so far, I’m impressed witht the guys behind it.]

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