You’re human, and humans sometimes screw up. When that screw up affects a client, it’s time to pay extra special attention to righting the ship. As much as you might feel compelled to beat yourself silly afterwards, especially in the case of screwing up professionally with a client or customer, we suggest putting your self-bludgeoner down for a sec while you gain a little perspective and formulate a good way to apologize.
“LOL My Bad!”
Handling mistakes properly is a critical part of any customer relationship. Sure, you may not be leaving sponges in patients or burning holes in customer’s dry cleaning, but inevitably your business will slip up in smaller ways from time to time. Businesses that can adeptly handle slip-ups with accountability and grace are the ones who rise above, enjoy a stronger connection going forward and earn the best online reviews.
A good apology first owns up to the mistake and then says ‘sorry’ in a genuine way that reinforces your belief—and your client’s—that you two are in this together, that their successes are your successes and you are 1000 percent invested in that success.
Thinking Outside the Sorry Box
Still, genuine doesn’t have to mean boring. You can say you’re sorry in a completely contrite, heartfelt way that still has a dash of creativity—and maybe a little humor tossed in.
One of our own clients ran into problem with the way Facebook ran their ads, causing many people to get way too many ads, which then led to a small landslide of complaints. Our client’s hands were tied in the sense that they have no control over however Mark Zuckerberg runs his operation, but they still felt bad and wanted to make it up to their clients somehow.
The brilliant solution they came up with was to send out a coupon, saying they knew that didn’t solve the issue, but hoped it’d at least help make up for the time their clients had to spend reaching out to them about it. Then they closed their note with, “We really are sorry, so here’s a puppy,” along with a picture of an absurdly cute puppy.
The incredible reaction our clients saw from their super classy defusing of a potentially messy situation was off the charts. Actually, it received such an overwhelmingly positive response that here we are writing an entire blog post all about apologies.
Mistakes in Mirror Are Larger than They Appear
Granted, super cute puppy pictures aren’t going to be the perfect approach to every apology. Adapting your response to each individual situation is another important part of making sure your apology is delivered with nothing but sincerity. Your apology should not SEEM sincere; it needs to ACTUALLY BE sincere.
Some mistakes are small, and maybe they can best be handled by a puppy pic. But others are big, and harder to recover from. In that kind of heavy lifting scenario, do not hesitate to roll up your sleeves and do whatever needs to be done to dig yourself out and get back on solid ground.