“I’m only the messenger*” is a phrase used by many to precede the delivery of less than welcome news. The fact is, lack of fairness notwithstanding, the messenger of bad news is almost always associated with, and even implicated in, its delivery.

This was brought home to me recently. Based on what I thought was reasonable due diligence, I referred a service provider to one of my clients. Subsequent to that referral, I learned that my client was unimpressed by the customer service she experienced with the vendor. I proceeded to act as go-between while my client and the vendor shared ‘their side of the story.’ It soon (but not soon enough) became apparent that this role was serving no purpose other than to weaken my relationship with both parties.

Sometimes, as in the case of online reputation management, the best response to a situation is no response at all. In hindsight, I’ve have been better off apologizing to my client for making the referral, and let it end there.


by Danny Bobrow

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