“I sincerely apologize for the issues you’ve experienced and the amount of time it’s taken to reach a resolution. Your site’s performance and uptime is something that we take very seriously, and we want to do whatever we can to ensure that you’re in a good place…I understand that none of this is ideal, and your concerns are not being taken lightly as we truly value your partnership with WP Engine.”

This was part of a message that a client of ours received from a customer service manager after intermittent downtime and no fixes from their website’s hosting company, WP Engine.

From a support standpoint, it was a great message. But I didn’t put much stock in it.

The site had been experiencing issues for a week and a half and my client and my team had been on support chat with around thirty different WP Engine support techs. The proposed issues and fixes weren’t consistent one support person to the next. No one took accountability in solving the problems. Their site was treated like a hot potato.

This told me that WP Engine didn’t take performance or uptime very seriously, that our clients’ problems were being taken lightly, and that WP Engine didn’t see itself as a partner. Pretty much the opposite of what the customer service manager was saying.

One of the maxims that I operate with is, “truth in behavior.”

It’s a simple idea, but it has wide application.

In marketing, how someone acts is more important than what they say.

In hiring, knowing how a candidate has responded to an actual situation tells me volumes more than an answer about what they would do.

The inverse holds true too for what you’re communicating to others.

In leadership, how you invest your time, energy, and attention will tell your team what you value and what they should value.

Make what people do the primary content in what they communicate and you’ll put your feet on firm ground to decide how to respond.

Featured image is of a US Navy P-2H Neptune of VP-18 flying over a Soviet cargo ship with crated Il-28s on deck during the Cuban Crisis. The Cold War was communication almost entirely through behavior. Used under public domain.