Every business will face challenges at some point along the way, and not every client or customer is going to be pleased all of the time. While as business owners most will always try and do their utmost to work through these challenges the best they can, mistakes can and will happen on occasion. So, what’s the best way to approach these mistakes?

Mistakes are in fact some of the best opportunities for your business to excel, learn and grow. A report by Marketing Week stated that 75% of Brits would stay loyal to a brand that they complained to if the complaint was dealt with properly.

This statistic highlights that carefully dealing with mistakes and complaints is an important aspect of business operations: the power of turning a negative experience into a positive outcome through effective complaint resolution benefits both the business and customer loyalty as well.

Admit That You Made a Mistake

The first thing to do is admit that you made a mistake. Even if the mistake was out of your control, as the owner of a business you are the representative and figurehead that should take responsibility when it comes to informing your client. Transparency breeds trust, and admitting fault shows that you value integrity and the customer’s happiness over pride. Equally, you shouldn’t be taking the blame for things outside of your control, however, when something does happen, informing your client right away about the situation sets the stage for honest communication and a positive way forward for all involved.

Approaching mistakes in a pragmatic and business-like sense, such as sticking to the facts and avoiding the temptation to pass blame or avoid taking accountability, can help you to move through any uncomfortable situation with your client, demonstrating integrity and professionalism, as well as a commitment to finding a workable solution for everyone.

Admitting to your customer that something has gone wrong in the first instance shows them that you are committed to them and their business, and don’t view them as a transaction.

It can be a powerful way to show humanity in your business, and let your clients and customers know that you value them on a deeper level than “just a client”.

Make A Proper Apology

A sincere apology goes far in mending any strained relationship. This isn’t just about “we’re sorry for any inconvenience”, but apologising for the issue and acknowledging the situation. An apology goes a long way to show that you have listened and that you understand how your customer feels, again fostering a deeper relationship based on trust. This level of sincerity can often soften any frustration and shows your empathy, not just to rectify the error, but also to add value to their overall customer experience with your business and brand.

Find A Solution That Works Best For Your Client

Following an apology, it’s now time to take action to find a solution that works for your client. This doesn’t mean handing everything over, but in some instances offering a refund, replacement, or some kind of value-added service could go a long way. It all depends on what went wrong, and its severity.

Much like negotiations, there could be a little bit of back and forth in this process. The key is to be flexible and offer something of value, but equally not to give away so much that it devalues your service and product.

A positive outcome can boost a customer’s view of you and, according to a Nielsen survey, 92% of respondents said that they would believe their friends and family over any kind of advertising. Think of a time that a company went above and beyond for you. Maybe you got a refund and still got to keep the product, or you were given a free month of service. A positive interaction like this can leave you feeling valued and as if the inconvenience has been rectified. It’s also likely to make you tell others what a great experience you’ve received as well.

Learn From Mistakes

It’s key to take every mistake or failure as an opportunity to learn and grow as both a business and a person in business. Take a look at what went wrong, why, what steps led to this, and how you can ensure your processes and activities prevent this from occurring again. Do you need to look at different suppliers? Do you need to do more thorough fact-finding at the beginning of a transactional relationship? Do you need to implement more stringent quality control?

These extra insights can help you to create a plan of action to void similar issues arising again in the future, or if they do, there is a tried-and-tested solution in place. Also, it’s key to let your customer know that things are changing as a result. This not only reassures them that you have listened to their problems but also shows how proactive you are as a business when it comes to continuous learning and improvement. This will help build and enhance trust and confidence in you, your business and brand.

Move On

At this stage, it’s important not to dwell on mistakes and challenges. Getting stuck in the weeds of a past failure can hinder growth and it can impact your mental health as well. Instead of getting stuck, feel positive that you have taken steps to fix everything you can and that you are demonstrating resilience. This positive, forward-thinking attitude demonstrates attractive qualities to current and prospective clients.

Finally, it's important to recognise that despite your best efforts, some clients may choose not to continue their relationship with your business. And that's okay. What matters most is that you've handled the situation with grace, professionalism, and a genuine desire to make things right. This approach not only helps in retaining loyal clients but also builds your reputation as a business that cares, attracting new customers who value honesty and integrity. By following these steps, you can turn dissatisfied clients into some of your biggest champions.

If you need support in making sure that your client relationships are well looked after, or perhaps you're juggling a lot in your business, then why not look into hiring a Virtual Assistant? Get in touch with us today for a free consultation on how a Virtual Assistant can help make your business run even more smoothly day-to-day and beyond.

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