Admitting Mistakes – Part 2

I was going to write a post today about the importance of admitting your mistakes, but a quick search revealed I had already written about the topic back in August 2007 (this is what happens when you write a lot of blog posts). There is a different, though – the post I wrote in August focused on the procedural aspects of admitting a mistake. Today’s post is going to focus on the reasons why you’d want to admit a mistake.

Customers are sometimes surprised by your honesty. Customers are used to hearing crazy responses, justifications, and denials when something happens that appears to be a mistake. When a company comes out and says, “Yes, we made a mistake. I apologize about the error.” and then fixes it, it can be surprising.

Honesty is disarming. When customers get the ridiculous answers and justifications, they tend to get more riled up and go into their own defensive mode. A customer service interaction suddenly turns into a debate/war/other hostile conflict. When a company or a person within the company responds honestly, it is totally different and the customer isn’t quite sure what to say most of the time. 

Honesty implies accountability. People like accountability in customer service. And accountability tends to be reassuring, especially to customers who were just witness to a mistake / screw up by a particular company. When people admit they made a mistake, it shows they are willing to own up to an issue and say what went wrong.

Of course, once you’re convinced that admitting your mistakes it the right way to go, check out my previous post on how to go about doing it.

3 Responses to “Admitting Mistakes – Part 2”

  1. Adesh Sidhu said:

    Apr 10, 09 at 1:22 pm

    True. Admit your mistake and show commitment to rectify it. And customer will love you for that.

  2. Brian Rodriguez said:

    Apr 13, 09 at 6:36 pm

    I think you make some great points here. A few months back we made a somewhat large mistake with one of our clients, and I started to think of ways I could get ourselves out of it. I finally just realized I needed to tell the truth about the situation. The response I got from the client was unbelievable, and I now have a stronger relationship with my client than I did before the mistake. I really enjoyed your post(s) on the topic.

  3. Service Untitled said:

    Apr 15, 09 at 5:54 pm

    Thanks for your comments!

    Being completely honest about the situation tends to gain a lot of respect. It seems a bit counterintuitive until you actually do it once or twice, but once you do it, you tend to see that just admitting what happened is usually the best course of action.