Being vulnerable in business is hard for any company because no one wants to admit to a mistake and tell the truth.
Fears often associated with telling the truth by admitting a company mistake include:
- Public Relations Problems
- Seeming Unreliable
- Losing Future Customers/Credibility
While these fears hold some merit, in reality research shows that telling the truth actually saves customers while acting like nothing happened becomes harder and harder with the use of social media.
Customers tend to appreciate being kept in the loop and knowing that there was a mistake. It makes a customer feel appreciated when someone admits they were wrong and takes ownership of the action to “make it right.” When a mistake is ignored, small issues easily get larger and more customers tend to get angry.
Here are some simple tips to admitting to a mistake in a professional environment:
Respond right away
If there is a problem, responding to the customer right away makes them feel important and heard. The longer you wait, the more it seems like the opposite. Identify the problem and if you need time responding to it correctly, tell them. They are more likely to wait knowing you are trying to solve it than keeping them in the dark while you solve it first.
Accept the mistake as your own
There is always a REASON for the mistake, but the fact that it happened is usually yours and a customer doesn’t want to hear “excuses.” Regardless of who made the mistake, the reaction should be that you are being honest about what happened and want to make it right.
Correct the mistake
Fixing the mistake is not going above and beyond for your customer. They expect you to fix the mistake and deliver on your promises. How did you go above and beyond? Tell the customer what you did to ensure this will never happen again to them or anyone else for that matter. If the problem involves other companies (shipping company, vendor, etc.) explain to them how you will fix the problem in the future and create a solution to ensure a process for future problems.
When a customer feels like you appreciate them, they are more likely to forgive a company for their mistake. Everyone is human and errors are bound to happen; it is how you deal with those errors that define you as a company.