Business Time - I just called, to say, “Oops”

Monday 16 January 2012

Business Time - I just called, to say, “Oops”

Make opportunities of your mistakes

I made a shocking discovery just before Christmas: no one’s perfect, me included.

I know! Take my side of a recent phone call to a client:

“Hi it’s Duncan, how are you? … Me? I’m great, thanks for asking… well, actually, not that great.

"Ummm… you know that thing you asked me to do? That really important thing? The one where I said ‘not a problem, all under control, no worries’?

"Well the thing is, there’s been a problem. It’s not entirely under control. I’m a little worried.

"What do I mean? I stuffed up, and now we can’t do that important thing. Sorry.”

That’s always a difficult conversation to have: you’ve made a mistake, and must now admit to it.

If you have erred, don’t wallow in your own pity, and DON’T pick up that phone yet. These situations – whilst humbling – can also prove the perfect opportunity to impress your client with your efforts to fix the situation, and help to build trust.

Before you pick up the phone and start grovelling, figure out how you’re going to fix things.

Returning to that phone call, where I’d just admitted to booking the musical entertainment for a function three hours too late:

“…but I think we can salvage it. I might be able to lean on some musician friends to fill that gap in the programme. We’ll fix it.”

So that’s what we did. I put the word out on Facebook that I was in urgent need of musical assistance. Then on Saturday morning, equipped with my guitar, my entire four-chord repertoire and (thankfully) a guitar-maestro friend, I fixed it.

Afterwards my client told me her boss had always been suspicious of marketers as a rule, but that we’d earned his trust.

He now knows that we’ll tell him if something is wrong, then go out of our way to take responsibility and manage it.

Without my little stuff-up in organising this function, it may have taken a lot longer to do that.


Made a mistake and managed to turn it around for the better? Let us know below… 

Have you checked out the region's best photo competition?