Fun fact about me: I had never heard the phrase “throwing someone under the bus” until I was well into my 20s. Somehow that phrase totally escaped me growing up. So naturally I was a little confused – not to mention concerned – when I first encountered it.
In any case, despite my ignorance, it’s a cute if not horrifying turn of phrase to describe when you unfairly pass the buck to someone else. And whether you intended to or not, you may have done this to your clients at some point. Surprisingly, there are a few ways you can accidentally throw clients under the bus, even in everyday business life! Let’s take a look at a few.
1. During a Crisis
This is the natural time when people get thrown under a wide variety of buses as tempers are flaring and everyone is stressed. Once friendly team members now want each other to confess to every sin imaginable and no longer care if they see each other the next day or not!
But it can be just as easily to accidentally reassign blame if you’re not careful. For example, if the mess your client is due to miscommunication, part of the blame may lie with you. If you spend all the time apologizing on behalf of your client, it comes across that they are 100% to blame.
Depending on how closely your client works with their partners, you may confuse an error on a partner’s end to be your client’s. If you apologize on behalf of your client, you’ve now associated them with the mess someone else created. You’ve also given yourself way more work than you needed to, all because you didn’t do careful research!
3. Pre-Emptive Bus Throwing
You can also accidentally set yourself and your client up for a problem in the future if you’re not careful. Have you made big promises to your customers and readers that there’s no possible way for the client to back up? Sooner or later, you’ll have to own up to those claims.
You could say, “Hey, my client wanted to make those claims!” However, part of your job is to keep the message square and true. Once in a while you have to call your client out on silly decisions. If you don’t, you may be pre-emptively throwing them under the bus.
4. Personal Account
Your own personal or business social media accounts may hold more sway than you think. The more tech savvy and investigative Internet denizens out there may take it upon themselves to one day check out what the gurus behind their favorite brands have to say. And if that message isn’t consistent with your clients’ messages, you may be in for some trouble! If you represent a financial software firm, then make sure not to accidentally tout several of their competitors or talk about how all of the industry is a scam.
Have you ever been thrown under the bus?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 8 Shocking Secrets Press Release Distribution Firms Don’t Want You to Know here: http://www.ereleases.com/landing3.html