If it hasn’t happened to you… it will, and there is no time like the present to think about how you will deal with it when it does. At some point either you will do something, or something will happen that could potentially damage your relationship with your client. How you deal with it determines whether it will be a disaster or a bump in the road.
I recently got a letter from LifeLock that reminded me about this important lesson. The letter explained communications I could expect from the FTC and my states attorney general. While those letters could have looked bad to the reader LifeLock explained what was behind those letters and why they were actually the result of some very positive things. This preemptive strike on their part was VERY savvy.
The best approach is to face the challenge head on…
- if you’ve messed up apologize
- if something beyond your control happens fix it and tell the client what to expect
- if your client could hear something that might be misinterpreted tell them about it and explain your side
When you do it demonstrates…
- your honesty
- your concern for their needs and feelings
- your willingness to correct mistakes and hold yourself accountable
Who among us is without sin? Because we all make mistakes, we’ve all had something we didn’t expect happen, and we’ve all been in a situation where things could be misconstrued… we all understand. Plus we all appreciate someone stepping forth and owning up.
Take responsibility and accountability even if you just think you’ve messed up. Doing so prevents a potentially emotional explosion and lasting damage. Plus it reinforces the trust you have established with your client and their decision to work with you.