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Nobody Stands Taller Than Those Willing to Stand Corrected


William Safire
1929 – 2009

William Safire is attributed with the title of today’s post. For those who don’t know, William was an accomplished author, journalist, and presidential speechwriter. He had an absolute passion for literature and politics and made a career out of it. He criticized various president’s actions, called them out when they were wrong, and analyzed every move they made. But there was one more thing he also did; when he was wrong, he admitted it. His quote speaks of a person’s integrity when they admit their faults and are willing to correct them or have them corrected. This also pertains to all business owners.

These days, quality employees are hard to come by while the cost of living increases forcing consumers to spend less. Its a perfect storm working against businesses these days. But in what way can you combat this? Well for one thing, providing the best customer service possible is a great way to win over clients. Even more, admitting when you are wrong and doing something about it goes even further. It doesn’t really matter what you messed up on, you have to make it right. This will stand out in a customer’s mind even more than just receiving great customer service.

Unfortunately we live in an age where negativity travels faster than lightning, the media thrives on it, and society can’t get enough of it. Even more, a customer who receives poor customer service or experiences a mess up will spread that through reviews, telling their friends, and may even post or blog about it. This does nothing for your business except for to undermine and bring you down. For every positive review, there are five negative reviews to combat it, even if something was just slightly off, customers will dwell on it and make it much worse than what it really needs to be. How than does one control this?

While it is not possible to provide 110% customer satisfaction each and every time, the goal is to provide the best that you can. When you mess up, don’t try to cover it up or blame someone else; just admit that you’re wrong. I got news for you, it is much easier to just say you were wrong and move on. It doesn’t hurt you, its much easier to handle or deal with, and minimalizes issues with your business, especially those that could come up later on. Better yet, if you admit that you were wrong and then go on to make things right, your customer will remember this even more. Statistics show that eighty percent of the time there is a mess up, the customer will write some sort of review about the experience. While you can’t control what your customers do, you can influence the outcome.

Customer Service Feedback Form Showing an Excellent Rating[/caption]Putting things into perspective, if a customer has a bad experience or something was messed up and not corrected, they are going to tell at least ten people and / or write a review about it. People will read these reviews or take advice from a friend. Pretty soon your marketing campaign is impacted negatively, your sales are down, and you have a bad reputation. What that one customer did who had a bad experience just cost you potentially thousands of dollars; all based on a bad experience! Looking at the same scenario only this time you admitted the mistake and made things right and developed a strong relationship with your customer. Again they are going to tell ten friends and / or write a review and while they may mention that something was messed up, what they are going to remember is how you handled the situation and made things right. That will keep them coming back to you as you now have a customer for life and their friends will now come to you based on their recommendation. While the mess up could have cost you a hundred dollars, the positive word-of-mouth marketing you just received from this saved you potentially thousands, meaning a strong form of marketing that is difficult if not impossible to control just cost you a hundred dollars but was made up for in increased revenues and increased traffic.

So if you want to increase your business, garner free advertisement, and go to bed at night knowing you did the right thing, you have to admit your mistakes and then make it right. Your customers will thank you, your business will show it, and it didn’t hurt you or your employees in the least bit.

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