When Sorry Won’t Fix a Whopper Mistake

We have all made that one serious whopper mistake … the one that haunts us even years later ….

“How could I have done something so dumb?”

Mine came while in was in Coeur d Alene on a sales trip.  I still remember the spring morning, sitting at the desk on my laptop before heading out to visit my customers, when I realized that I had forwWhen Sorry Won't Fix a Whopper Mistakearded a faxed order to one of my vendors that that exactly one year old!  Yup, I sent them 3 orders that had not been placed at all!!

You know the feeling of horror when you discover your BIG mistake …. the blood rushes out of your face, you start breathing heavy, and panic sets in.

So what do you do when you make a whopper mistake?

My friend, Derek Halpern, from Social Triggers, knows exactly what I am talking about in his article:

When “Sorry” isn’t enough, do this instead…

The big question is this: what should you do when sorry isn’t enough?

When you want to win over someone for good, the truth is: sorry isn’t enough.

And you only really have two choices when you find yourself in this unfortunate position:

Choice #1: Move on

Know that you’ll never have a relationship with the person you just disappointed. And know that they’re likely telling people about it… forever.

Choice #2: Over compensate …

If you make a mistake, do everything to make it right. Even if it comes at a great expense to you and your business. Especially if you want an ongoing relationship with the person.

If you are like me, you make small mistakes often enough.  Sure, we refund money, send extra product, waive fees …. The last thing we want to do is damage our relationship with our customers.

When a Christmas gift froze solid in transits, we instantly replaced it at no cost to the customer.  Was it our fault?  Not really, but that does not solve the customer’s problem. (Of course, we had ‘words’ with our freight provider!).

Or the time our new website overcharged a customer by $30, we issue an a refund for the overcharge.

But what about the big whopping mistake?

So back to my story … after I contained my panic, I called the producer, who, of course, had already sent the three orders that weren’t orders.  With my voice noticeably trembling, I explained what had happened and told him I would fix it.

Next thing I did was to contact the three stores to let them know that an ‘order’ was on the way and why.  To my surprise, two of the three store buyers told me it was okay — they planned to place a similar order in the near future anyway.  The third buyer did not want the order, so I offered to pick it up the next time I was in the area and resell it to another store.

From that moment one, I built a strong trust with this particular vendor, and my store buyers also knew a new level of trust with me.

Phew … that incident happened over 10 years ago, and it still makes me shake a bit!!

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2 comments for “When Sorry Won’t Fix a Whopper Mistake

  1. February 13, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Good story and wonderful outcome! I’ve been there, done that myself more than once.

  2. February 13, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Thanks Robin!

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