Mistakes will happen. None of us ever like it when they do happen, but how we handle those mistakes can say a lot about us.
First, let me define a mistake: an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong.
Let’s say you’ve made a mistake for your client. Maybe you missed a call. You invoiced them wrong. You screwed up their newsletter. Your reaction to that mistake once it’s brought to your attention can say a lot about you. And how you handle the aftermath of the mistake can save a relationship from potentially going bad.
Do you own your mistakes, apologize and try to make it right by offering solutions?
Do you find blame with the other person and try to make it their fault? Do you blame other team members?
Do you take the Mariah Carey approach and say, “**** happens” and be nonchalant about it?
Recently I was attending a Mastermind event with a client and the hotel was having issues. She does these Masterminds twice a year at the same location. One of the attendees had multiple problems with their room, the service in the restaurant was beyond slow for all of us, and the list kept going on…
After the event, we reached out to the event manager and were fully prepared to move this Mastermind to another location if the hotel did not step up and take ownership and make it right. But you know what? They took total ownership, apologized, and made things right.
When my team and I make mistakes (yes, we’re human and it happens), I look at those mistakes and ask myself, “What could we do to avoid this mistake again? Is it a different type of communication? Is it setting expectations better? How can we improve?”
Those questions are sometimes asked in conversations we have with the client to make sure we’re all on the same page. And other times, those questions are asked internally after we’ve apologized to the client, taken ownership, and made it right.
Last year we started working with a client who had told me about her previous Infusionsoft support person. The client said whenever a mistake was made, the Infusionsoft person never just owned up to it and fixed it. It was always a big ordeal with a bunch of back and forth… and the Infusionsoft person always made it clear that it wasn’t her fault. Recently the client gave me this feedback for my team: What I appreciate most is if there is a mistake made, responsibility is immediately taken and the issue corrected without any fuss.
When you find yourself in that awkward moment where you’ve made a mistake, first, be calm and figure out a solution. What is the best way to fix the mistake? Come up with multiple solutions, if necessary. Then apologize to the client and offer those solutions to make it right.
Lastly, figure out how or why the mistake happened and what can be done in the future to avoid making the same mistake twice!
What are your tips for handling mistakes?