I’m starting off today’s Ultimate Blog Challenge post from an email tip provided by Paul Taubman, our leader and admin for the UBC group, which he suggested blogging about a time you’ve either stumbled or made a mistake. Geez! I’ve made a few mistakes in my business. There is no denying that.
Looking back over the years I have been in business, I believe the one time I received a real “blessing out” by a client was when I was just starting out working on simple HTML web pages and websites (Pre-WordPress era, of course!). I remember I had moved some elements around on her home page, per her specific instructions, but I did not originally save the HTML file before I made the changes. There was something on the web page that she did not like and asked me to revert back to the old version before I started working on it. Unfortunately, I was unable to do that. I had to tell my client what had happened. Well, she wasn’t very understanding and felt that I had her “bent over a barrel”. And that’s exactly how she had it worded too. Yikes! I really felt awful about the whole situation and learned my lesson from it. When you are just starting out in a new business, chances are, you’re going to make mistakes…maybe even big ones!
It’s important that if you have made a mistake with a client project, follow these simple rules to make sure you acknowledge it and take action:
- Be sure to admit that you made a mistake. Own up to your short-fall and apologize for it. It may not feel good to you or the client that you made a mistake, but you can salvage the relationship by at least telling them that you are responsible for what happened. Most of the time, the client will accept your apology and want to hear more about how you can resolve the issue. The worst thing you can do is come up with excuses or lay the blame on the client. That’s a real quick way to have a client shut down and abandon the project, and they will be the first to tell their colleagues to never work with you…ever.
- If you made a mistake and it can be fixable, then do not hesitate to correct it right away. If that means you need to lay aside other projects to fix the mistake, then by all means do it. Putting that client at the top of your priority list and showing that you care and you genuinely want to make it up to them, that will help ease their stress and they can put their trust back into you handling their project. Offer that top-notch customer service, if you will. I’m sure you want to keep that client happy, especially if they are an on-going client and they are likely to refer you to others. HUGELY important!
- If you made a mistake, but it’s not something you can completely rectify, then I would suggest you refund any of the deposit that may have been paid before the start of the project. In the case of my unhappy website client, it’s exactly what I did. I refunded her all of the money she initially paid into the project. It was the least I could do.
I have definitely come a long way since that website debacle and ever since then, I have put into place good website design practices to ensure I never fall into a situation like that again.
I would love to hear of any mistake or a crummy situation that you had to handle in the comments section below.
Until tomorrow…Day 6 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.
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Well it’s been said we learn from our mistakes but it still hurts! When I taught sewing to young 4-H children, they would get so upset when they made a mistake in cutting or sewing. I was helping one girl come up with a solution to a cut she made in a cuff. We covered both cuffs with lace and that’s how I came about to teaching a sewing “boo-boo” class!
I love it! There is always a solution to a sewing “boo-boo”. I’m sure that little girl walked away so happy you helped her fix her cuff. So sweet!
I like that idea of a “sewing boo boo” class! What a great way to encourage creativity! It is OK to make mistakes. They are learning opportunities. That being said, I would have to add that I would rather not hear my dentist say, “Ooops,” as he is working on my mouth!
That is one profession you do not want to make a mistake in! I guess you would need to say the same about a surgeon too, huh? Yikes!
I 100 percent agree. I think accountability is so important and people appreciate your owning up to mistakes. Also, sometimes failure is the only way to learn so we don’t do it again. Great read! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Elisa! You do learn from your mistakes. It only took me one time to realize that in this situation.
You did the right thing although I bet the situation was not easy to deal with.
Those are positive helpful tips,
It wasn’t an easy situation, but it taught me to really put practices into place so it never happens to another client again.