All entrepreneurs make mistakes. It’s inevitable. But it’s what you do in response to those setbacks that makes or breaks your success and your future. There is no single “right” way to respond to mistakes, but I’ve been in business a long time, so I wanted to share with you my own strategies for handling failure and even thriving from it.
Address It Honestly And Look Internally
The first thing you need to accept is that the situation happened and there isn’t anything you can do to change that. It’s understandable to worry about mistakes, but dwelling on them doesn’t fix anything.
Be honest with yourself and your customers. At Newsletter Pro, we make mistakes every month, but we make it up to our customers every time. No one is perfect, but our customers forgive us because we strive to earn that forgiveness. Being transparent about your shortcomings alleviates the tension and builds a stronger bond between you and your customers.
Every business issue is a leadership issue, so after you’ve addressed the problem with your customer and you’re looking for what went wrong, you need to look in the mirror. Think about what you did in the situation. What were your motivations? How did the consumer react? What you could have done differently? You may not like the answers to those questions, but learning from mistakes can include growing pains.
Once you have determined how you fell short, take a deep dive into the other areas of your business that could have contributed to this mistake. Did an essential tool break? Did an employee make a mistake? Did the customer mess up, and did the company make it worse? You need to be introspective. Then you can use the information you gathered to your advantage and avoid future pitfalls.
Don’t let failure curb your enthusiasm for your passion. If anything, you should be proud you tried, pat yourself on the back, and try again. Keep positive, stay calm, and forge on knowing you’re stronger, smarter, and even more prepared now that you’ve learned from a failure.
Every mistake has a life lesson you can glean from it. Keep in mind that everyone fails. Consider some of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time, like Steve Jobs, Evan Williams, and Jeff Bezos. They all failed spectacularly and rose above it to become leaders in their industries.
Consider The Customer Perspective
As an entrepreneur, you know that the customer doesn’t always see your side of it. Sometimes customers do make mistakes, but if it’s always everyone else’s fault, then, frankly, it’s actually your fault. The customer may not see your side of things, but you won’t always see things from their perspective either. So, when in doubt, err on the side of the customer and look at it from their perspective as best you can.
Customer service can be tricky, so it’s important to remember two rules even in the most difficult of customer service situations. You must politely tell the truth and keep in mind that the customer is right. Mistakes are rarely one-sided, but when you follow it up with excellent customer service, you can turn the customer from being frustrated to being a raving fan.
And it’s not just that one customer you will turn into a raving fan. If you find your retention is declining, remember it’s all about the relationship with the customer and their experience. If you can develop a positive relationship with your customers, you can gain that valuable feedback that will help improve their customer experience. And a great opportunity to get that feedback occurs right after you make a customer service mistake.
Using these tactics will help you improve as an entrepreneur and as a person. Do you get into fights with your significant other? Chances are you both did something to annoy one another. Are your kids getting into trouble? You might want to look at how you parent.
As you know by now, the trick is not to avoid failure but to use it to your advantage. By following some of these tips, you will set yourself up for immense growth and success in your professional and personal life.