Six Steps to Handling Mistakes at Work

Mistakes are a natural part of life… and business. How you handle those mistakes will go a long way in turning a dissatisfied customer around. Here are a few things you can do when mistakes occur at your company to help resolve the issue and make sure it doesn’t happen again:

1. Acknowledge the mistake. When someone brings an error to your attention, own up to it. Apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused, and get to work (with the customer) to resolve the situation.
2. Act swiftly. As soon as a mistake comes to light, get to work fixing the problem. If it’s a quick fix, all that much better. However, if resolving the issue will take more time, let the customer know that, too, and set a realistic timetable for reaching a resolution.
3. Keep the customer involved. Ask the customer what you can do to make things right, and keep in close touch with them until the issue is resolved. This will help the customer see how seriously you take the situation… and their business.
4. Follow up and follow through. After the situation has been resolved, follow up with the customer to make sure everything is now okay. Follow through on any promises you made, and let the customer know how much you appreciate their feedback.
5. Schedule a postmortem. Once you’ve had a little time to breathe, gather together the key members of your team who worked on resolving the problem. Figure out what caused the initial error, and decide what can be done differently in the future to prevent the same thing from happening again.
6. Shore up your processes. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous step. With the team’s recommendations now in hand, start implementing the changes you think will help your company move forward into the future.

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