Everyone who runs a business knows that sooner or later, someone will “drop the ball.” Whether it’s you or an employee, mistakes happen and it doesn’t always improve the situation to continue reprimanding someone for a mistake. What’s important is addressing it and coming up with a solution to ensure you don’t keep making the same mistake, especially if you want to keep the customer. The best thing you can do if you’re a business owner is to have a plan in place for recovering from situations where someone dropped the ball.
First things first, you need to own up to the mistake. If you were the one to drop the ball, then you need to admit it to the customer. If it was an employee, they should do the same. Both customers and supervisors will see your sincerity and they’ll respond better overall when you admit the mistake and move straight onto finding solutions, rather than making excuses for yourself.
Next, find out what you can do to make up for the mistake. Talk to the customer and work with them to make amends for negatively affecting them. Of course, there will be limitations that you will have – offering a refund or free meal is reasonable, but providing $100 worth of free items isn’t – and it’s important to have these limitations in mind before you start negotiating with the customer. You can ask how you can make it up to them, but you should also offer solutions that will work for both of you. Show them that you appreciate their business and want them to keep coming back.
Lastly, you absolutely NEED to follow through. If you agreed to provide a refund or a free meal for the customer, make sure they get it without a hassle. Your goal is to remedy the mistake and never make it again. Reassure them that the issue won’t happen again, and make them feel like they can trust you on that. Remember, customers will remember both exceptional service and bad service. It’s up to you to make sure your customer remembers the great service you offer even after you’ve made a mistake. Chase the ball when it’s dropped and pick it back up! Get your team back on track, keep your customers happy, and keep your business moving up faster.