Mistakes Could Hurt Your Reputation, However, Admit Them Immediately & Make It Right With Your Customers

Outstanding Customer service?

A colleague of mine who happens to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) had to reschedule an appointment with her two, new clients, a couple who appear to need tax advice. Originally, the husband missed the initial meeting as he had to help take care of his mom who had suddenly became ill. So cancellation number one.

zzzNordstrom Rack 016The new appointment by the CPA was scheduled for a few weeks later on Monday night, at 6 pm. Needless to say, when it’s the second time an appointment has been scheduled, it’s important for it to occur.

About 30 minutes after 6 pm on that Monday night, my colleague tells me she had completely forgotten about the appointment. Actually, in her mind she had mistakenly thought it was at 7 pm instead of 6. Initially mortified, she felt terrible about her mistake and greatly inconveniencing her new clients. As she was telling me the story, she shook her head saying it had been over 10 years since she last failed to show for an appointment made by her or her office.

bInstead of letting things simmer on Monday evening, she immediately called her clients and apologized. And because her clients were relatively new, she wasn’t exactly sure how they’d handle the news. Regardless of how this relationship would turn out, she had to do everything in her power to tell the truth so she simply said she “goofed” and apologized for the inconvenience. It was quite encouraging to realize her clients had no issues whatsoever about the mix-up. Towards the end of the conversation, my colleague inquired about the health status of her mom. Thankfully, mom was doing better.

The next day came and she called her clients again and told them she felt quite bad about missing their appointment. She offered to meet them at any time of their convenience – she knew it was critical of doing everything in her power to make things right and steer the ship in the right direction. After securing another time, she purchased a $50 gift to a local restaurant for these clients. To go one step further, she sent her client’s mother get well flowers. Not necessarily although something that is noteworthy and clearly customer centric.

Lexus Service Department 018I heard her clients were pleasantly surprised by her nice gesture. They certainly weren’t expecting anything as they simply appreciated her honesty during the apology. Apparently her clients had worked with other professionals for years and had never received any gifts or presents from any of their providers.

Some time has passed and she still feels a little guilty about missing the appointment. I don’t think this will occur for many a year. We all make mistakes from time to time. It’s not mistakes that will hurt your business or reputation, but rather, it’s how one handles things once mistakes happen. One’s character is not necessarily about avoiding mistakes, but rather, how we admit them and make them right. That’s king in my good customer service circles.