We all make mistakes. Some of them are bigger than others. It can be a marketing mistake, a customer support mistake, a PR snafu, or a sudden change in operations that means you can’t fulfill business promises. They happen, but they shouldn’t paralyze you.
Here are a few ways that businesses can get over the hump and sometimes enjoy better success after a fail than before it.
First of all, admit that you did wrong. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. Sometimes, a customer is mistaken or lying and if you can prove it, do it. Otherwise, assume that you’re in the wrong. To do otherwise is to leave it up to the audience as to who is right. In most cases, people tend to side with the consumer because they can imagine themselves in their position. Apologize, offer to get in contact directly with the wronged party, and make it clear you’re addressing what went wrong.
Address the Problem
Don’t be vague if it’s possible to be detailed. If someone didn’t get a delivery because your order processing system messed up, state it clearly. Tell them how you’re going to remove the chance for error if possible. If you make a case study out of how your address your failures, it can bolster customer trust much more than simply apologizing or fixing things behind the scenes. Your market can be more forgiving than you might believe, and you can earn goodwill by convincing them that you are earnest in fixing your mistakes.
Wipe the Slate Clean
Of course, sometimes a mistake is bigger than an easily fixable error. Some issues can render a brand toxic. Forming a new corporate identity can be tough, but rebranding may sometimes be your best strategy. You don’t have to lie about the identity of your business, but you can use it as both a real and a symbolic clean slate to show customers you’re recommitting to brand values that align with their interests. Naturally, this is a drastic step, but sometimes it is necessary. Holding onto a brand identity that is irrevocably damaged can end up costing you everything.
Get Over It
Analyze what went wrong, find the fixes, make your apologies, and rebrand as and when is necessary. But once it’s done, let it go. Don’t bring up past mistakes in future marketing or content. Don’t feel like it’s a shadow hanging over your constantly. The more you remind your team or your customers of your mistakes, the more they become a key component of your brand identity. Implement the fixes and ensure it doesn’t happen again, but don’t fixate on it. Apologies are good, but an apologetic brand is less appealing for obvious reasons.
It doesn’t take a mastermind to point out that a crisis can easily become an opportunity. Though you shouldn’t expect failure, if you have the right response prepared in the event of a mistake, you can come out of it with an even better public image.