How perfect are you? Are you above error, mistakes and missteps? I am—and of course I am lying. Who is above the need for a little grace, both in and outside of the business setting?
In “Are You a Fallible Human Being?” John Mariotti puts that question on the table. In his article, Mariotti discusses the grace factor when it comes to celebrities and other high profile individuals. All I have to say about that is, Humans are humans and grace is grace – until you do something that I really can’t tolerate. (Well, you know how we humans are: We have a lot of grace for our favorites and none for yours).
But Mariotti did make me think about the small business owner. What happens when we misstep with our customers? Whether it is the business owner personally, someone on the team or a broken system that caused the problem, how do we deal with it?
With all the technology around us, business is still driven by humans. We are the soul behind the machine, and because we’re human, mistakes happen. In “How to Apologize to Customers and Have Them Love You More,” Ivana Taylor says, “It’s never a good thing when customers have a bad experience with your product or service. But instead of getting defensive, you can apologize, make it right, AND make them love you more in the process.”
Taylor lists six key steps you can take to repair the damage. I consider this priceless advice because mistreating our customers for any reason – even out of ignorance or by accident – is the business mistake that we cannot afford to ignore.
Naturally, we show grace more quickly to those who demonstrate sincerity, transparency and a willingness to improve the situation. Our customers are no different–if the faux pas is ours, then this same posture can take us a long way. Taylor breaks it down and makes it actionable.
While you are taking care of this type of customer, consider Yvonne DiVita’s advice in “How to Recognize and Reward Brand Advocacy.” DiVita dishes out three quick suggestions to help you identify and care for these happiest of happy customers. These are the brand advocates who spread the word about their experience and love for your product. We don’t want to ignore them because they are powerful influencers (and fun too!). Their love for the product and the friends they share it with means more business for you.
As a matter of fact, if we take Taylor’s advice to heart and handle our mistakes with care, we can turn the wounded customer into a brand-happy client (maybe even an advocate). In How to Apologize, she also suggests that “Instead of thinking about how to defend the mistake, think about the ways that you can use the mistake to give your customers an unexpected surprise.”
Sometimes, we are the fallible ones — the ones that need the grace and a plan that helps our customers provide it.