It is inevitable that we make mistakes. That from time to time, for one reason or the other, we find we've done the wrong thing. And when it relates to an end client we pay double the price; as the direct outcome of our mistake, and in the client's estimation of our competence.
It could be something inaccurate or poorly worded during sales, that leads to asymmetric expectations during delivery. Or it could be a failure to comprehensively address a client issue in a timely manner. In either case, as in all others, the outcome is the same - things don't go to plan and we look worse for it.
A question of confidence
One thing to recognise is that perhaps more than a breakdown in product or service there is a breakdown in confidence. Because we live in an imperfect world and everyone knows on some level that mishaps occur from time to time. Mishaps that can always be fixed with a bit of imagination. They by themselves are less of an issue.
The key issue for the client is simply this; did they make a mistake by choosing us? For the sake of an error or mistake the answer must be no. Yet we must truly believe this in ourselves, to proceed by words and deeds to reassure the client their confidence is not misplaced.
Style and Substance
The second thing to recognise follows from the first. That fixing the problem is as much about resolving the issue as doing it with style. Yes one can finally render that service or deliver that product value; but beyond this is to ask ourselves a simple question; if we were the client what way of fixing this would we find most convenient and delightful.
Because fundamentally we're all the same in so many ways. And what delights us has a reasonable chance of delighting others. This includes everything from extra features to added value delivered with confidence and a human touch. And it includes little gestures by way of apology for inconveniences caused.
Things in order first and always
Finally, the third recognition is the order with which things are done. And their relevance towards restoring the client confidence necessary for long-term-value-creating relationships, on both sides. Sometimes vocal apologies need to be made first and upfront. Especially when our mistakes cause personal inconveniences alongside professional ones.
But if actions speak louder then the ultimate apology is to resolve the issue and deliver in a way that minimises the damage and ultra-maximises the end value to the client. Whatever it takes. Resolve the issue with style, by creating extra value. And resolve it immediately. Then apologise with a token of appreciation for graciousness towards our mishaps.
A small habit? Perhaps. But an inestimable one from the Smart Growth vantage point.
The Phoenyx Group