Three quick facts about making a mistake.
- You’re bound to do it.
- It can cost you a customer.
- Most people don’t handle it well.
In fact, disappointing a customer stinks. Fortunately the solution does too.
S — Shut up. When a customer begins to complain, just shut up and listen. They need to vent. You need to understand what has them upset. To accomplish both, shut up.
T — Take ownership. Your fault, someone in shipping’s fault, the customer’s fault. It doesn’t matter. Once the customer hands you the problem, make it yours.
I — Investigate the problem. Your customer wants to know they’re getting more than lip service. And, you want to avoid having to do this again, don’t you?
N — Never offer an excuse. It doesn’t matter why it happened. It just matters that it happened. Once the situation is defused and you’ve done your investigating, then you can offer an explanation. But never an excuse.
K — Keep your word. If you say you’re going to call them back that afternoon, do it. If you say you’re going to mail them some coupons or pick up the tab for dinner or deliver the corrected report by Thursday — do it.
S — Say you are sorry. Use those exact words. "I’m sorry this happened." "I’m sorry we kept you waiting." The customer wants to hear that you feel badly. They do and they do not want to feel it all by themselves!
I can see you, you’re shaking your head at me and saying "well duh, Drew." But you know what…it’s not a duh. Otherwise more companies would actually handle problems this way.
So print this off and post it somewhere that your employees can see it. Better yet, go over it with them at the next quarterly meeting. And then walk the talk by demonstrating how it works next time you make a mistake.
Think you won’t? Refer to the top of the post!
Well said—any relationship will have bumps so it’s important to learn how to ‘fess up, make up, and move on.
Your point is a good one. If you don’t mend the broken link, it is hard to keep moving forward.
It’s all about grace. The giving and the receiving.