Fact: “It is five times more expensive to generate new customers than to keep existing ones.” The Gallup Organization tells us this, and we all know it to be true. We also know that we humans make mistakes that can sometimes upset our clients to the point that we might lose them. How do we keep this from happening?
Making a mistake can give us the opportunity to make a raving fan of our client. It depends on how we respond to the mistake and how we rectify it.
First, respond as quickly as you know there is a problem. Putting off dealing with the situation, even if it might be unpleasant, will only make the situation worse. Call, or if possible, go to see the client in person. Explain the mistake. Take responsibility. Be honest.
A good question to ask the client is, “What would you like me to do to correct this problem?” Much of the time, what they ask us to do is much less than we would have been willing to do. Do what they ask, if at all possible. If you can do more than they ask, you have the opportunity to strengthen your relationship with them. They will remember the way you responded to the situation.
Write a follow-up note apologizing for the problem and outlining what you are doing to correct it.
Clients understand that we are all human and that we sometimes foul up. If we handle the mistake quickly and professionally, we can create an even stronger relationship with our client.
Pat Bryson is the owner of Bryson Broadcasting International, a firm that specializes in coaching and training sales and sales management. She is available to help your staff achieve its next level of expertise. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.patbryson.com. Copyright © 2011 Bryson Broadcasting International.