Truth or Consequences
We all make mistakes.
How we handle those mistakes makes all the difference in the world.
And how you handle mistakes in business can mean the difference between keeping or losing a client.
A mistake can be something concrete, like shipping product to the wrong address, or missing an appointment. And mistakes can be more abstract, like an error in judgment, or a miscalculation of important details.
Your relationship with your clients is one based on a mutual trust. No matter what your business is, or how big or small your operation might be.
The best thing you can do for your client and for your business is to maintain that trust even when you make a mistake.
How and when do mistakes happen?
An article in the Ivy Business Journal breaks mistakes into 4 categories:
- Chance Occurrences
These are mistakes that are attributed to unfortunate probability or bad luck.
- Actions of Others
This category of mistakes refers to those that originate primarily because of someone else’s actions.
- Attention Deficit
Mistakes caused by a lack of attention due to situational factors (e.g., workload strain, time pressure, new staff, or brand new processes/issues)
- Well-Intentioned Mistakes
Mistakes that employees committed out of a good purpose (e.g., meant for customers’ convenience, but deviated from standard processes)
(Note that these all examples fall under the category of Honest Mistakes as opposed to Willful Neglect.)
How do you handle a mistake?
No matter which of the above categories your mistake falls into, the way that you handle it remains the same.
The most important thing you can do, once a mistake has been recognized, is to own it. Immediately.
This isn’t just about damage control. This is about character and trust.
Owning your mistake and doing whatever it takes to rectify it, sends a message to your client. The sooner you can convey that message the better.
Help your client understand that mistakes are out of character for you and antithetical to the way you run your business. Working quickly, with your client and your team, come up with a solution, restitution, a kind act, and a plan to help your client understand that you are taking all the necessary steps to ensure it won’t happen again.
Passing the buck, playing the blame game or trying to solve the issue without being forthcoming, will do irreparable damage to your relationship with your client.
We are all human and all capable of making mistakes. Be humble, be honest, and stay positive and solution oriented.
Good customer service is everything.
Salesforce Research says that 78% of consumers will return and continue to do business with companies after experiencing a mistake, if they received great customer service.
At the end of the day, we’re all human. We all make mistakes.
Own your mistakes and keep your client!
To your success,