What to Do When You Make a Mistake

Mistakes happen. Everyone from the boss to the mailroom clerk will eventually commit an error that impacts a client. Instead of panicking or denying, however, preserve and strengthen your customer relationships by following these steps:

1. Admit It

Whether it’s you or the customer that caught the mistake, reach out ASAP, and admit the error. Always offer an apology, no matter how small the snafu, and then set to work to make things right immediately. It doesn’t hurt to ask your customer what you can do to rectify the problem either. He or she will appreciate being heard.

2. Find the Cause

Was it one main issue or several minor oversights? Investigate why the mistake happened, and minimize future errors by implementing new policies or re-training staff. Advise impacted customers how you’re solving the problem and preventing it from happening again.

3. Get Back on Track

You called the client, made things right, and found the root cause--now it’s time to get back to business. Don’t waste energy berating yourself (or your employees). Say you’re sorry, fix the problem, appreciate the lessons you learned, and move on.

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