5 Do-Overs When Leaders Mess Up With Clients

They are so precious to us and yet sometimes leaders make mistakes when working with their customers. Our missteps are not deliberate but often a result of juggling too many projects at the same time. Whether we work within a large organization, on a smaller team or are a solo entrepreneur, we can become so knee-deep in our details that we can overlook a customer’s need or concern. This happened to me during the week and I am still beating myself up about it. A missed phone call. A lost email. A follow-up email from a referral that wondered what was happening. How could this occur when I try to exceed every need of my customers? Not only do I give my clients 150% but also I forge deep connections with each of them. That’s how I learn all about their businesses to develop impactful leadership strategies for them.I needed to fix this mishap quickly and with the best customer experience I could come up with. I needed a do-over.

Five do-overs when leaders mess up with customers:

1. Understand Completely The Breakdown

Once a leader learns that a customer has been let down, they owe it to themselves to identify how it happened and why. Take a look into specifically where the breakdown happened and how the mistake was missed. Sometimes the mishap could be about our processes or daily habits. An accurate diagnosis is critical to addressing our mess up.

2. Apologize With Gratitude

Once we recognize our mistake we need to apologize to our customers whether they are within our organizations or external clients. In our apologies we must:
  • Be genuine and very sincere.
  • Show our gratitude for our customer relationship.
  • Never blame or finger point.
  • Be honest about our mess up.
  • Remind our precious customers of their importance to us.
  • When leaders mess up with a customer they apologize with gratitude.

    3. Reach Out With Urgency

    Timing is essential when leaders screw up and that means little or no turnaround time for reaching out. We can’t delay and hope things will be mended on their own. If we don’t respond quickly to a client misstep, we may ruin the relationship and risk any future partnering with them. So put your other projects aside and focus on rebuilding this most important connection.Related: What’s Gratitude Got To Do With Leadership?

    4. Power Into Your 150% Customer Service

    Next step is moving forward with precision and energy to realign the relationship with a customer. Think of how you could delight the customer and go beyond their expectations. Some questions we may want to ask ourselves:
  • What can I do to be most helpful to my customer right now?
  • Are there additional services or support I can provide that would make a big impact?
  • Can I offer deeper insights into why they reached out originally to work with me?
  • What talents can I bring to this situation that would elevate our joint project?
  • Leaders know a strong relationship is at the heart of excellent customer service.

    5. Learn How To Never Let This Happen Again (And it will)

    At the end of the day it is what a leader does with the information they learned about themselves that is most essential with any customer mess up. It may mean putting new processes in place or tackling our workload in a different way. Make the changes and stop beating yourself up. As we all know, there is no perfect and mess ups will happen with our precious customers. It’s how we move on and grow our leadership that is most important. What are some do-overs you have made with customers to grow your leadership connections?