Communicating with Your Customers when You Mess Up
We all make mistakes. Sometimes they're big and bumbling, sometimes they're minor but still just as frustrating. Maybe a tweet from your marketing team went out too early, sharing important information at the wrong time. Maybe a glitch with your emails spammed customers with 6 weeks worth of emails at once. Or maybe a product arrived to your customer damaged.
Businesses are run by humans, and humans make mistakes. But how do we correct our mistakes and continue to build trust with customers? We found the following tips helpful:
Acknowledge the mistake and apologize. There's nothing worse than pretending a mistake didn't happen and ignoring its impact on your customers. Whether it was a product that wasn't shipped when it was supposed to be, or sensitive information that was breached, apologize genuinely and let your customers know how you are fixing the issue.
Keep the customer updated. If something happened that may take some time to resolve, make sure you check in with your customers along the way so they know that you are working through the issue and they should have an answer soon. This keeps them from wondering and having to follow up with you with questions.
Document the mistake and implement processes to avoid making the same mistake in the future. Mistakes are just lessons in unflattering clothing. Learn from them. Use them to shape your strategy. And then do your very best to not make them again.
Follow up. After the issue is resolved, make sure you communicate with your customer how you will avoid making a similar mistake in the future. And as a gesture of goodwill, throw in a coupon or a promo code. You want the customer to know that their time and business are valued, and that you have their needs in mind.
When you make a mistake, own up to it, and be sure to work through it quickly and carefully. You're human, and customers will respect that–if you take the time to make things right.