Commitment to customer satisfaction.In most scenarios, it’s not the size of the mistake you make that will affect your client relations; it’s the way you handle the aftermath.

In a business world comprised of automation, batching and technological tools that only a percentage of users are familiar with, mistakes both small and large are bound to happen.  Often times, it’s not the errors themselves that drive clients away, but the way employees handle the situation afterwards.  Even in the most dire situations, five steps can almost always turn a poor experience into a positive one.

  1. Be upfront and honest. Don’t make excuses or sugarcoat the situation.  Explaining what happened in a truthful timely manner is far easier than backpedaling on false promises and inaccuracies later on.  Most people, even when steaming mad, will grow to appreciate your honesty.
  2. Explain the issue in a way they understand. Tell your client what happened in terms they can relate to.  Often times, there may be a communication issue on their end that lead to confusion.  While still taking responsibility for your blunder(s), explain how they can help make sure there are no more in the future.
  3. Explain or show how you plan to fix the issue. You’ve told them what happened.  Now show them how you plan to make sure this is the last time it happens.  The more confident and concise you are the better.  Yes.  You made a mistake, but you’ve learned from it and now have the hindsight to offer them and even better solution than before.
  4. Fix the issue. Revise your methods and return to your client with the best product, service or solution you possibly can.
  5. Follow-up. Make sure they’re happy with your work and remind them you’re willing to work with them to make sure all their needs are met.

Remember, mistakes are bound to happen and they don’t have to be completely negative.  Show your clients your ability to weather the storm in a crisis situation, or run damage control when Chuck from IT breaks your server.  These can be trust-building experiences, which demonstrate your dedication to your clients and your dedication to getting things right.