Remember these 5 Steps to Ensure Client Satisfaction Post-Mistake
by Jolina Pettice – Account Manager
Imagine that you are sitting in your favorite restaurant. Your expectations are high and you are excited about the perfect hamburger, filet, pasta, the list goes on.
Here comes the server to bring you this wonderfully prepared dish, but you find a hair! Sit back and think about how upset youâ€™ve been over a ruined meal thatâ€™s only costing you 15, 20, 30 bucks.
Now imagine that you are the client of a marketing firm and your most recent email has just been distributed with an error. Whether itâ€™s a spelling mistake, an inactive link, or a broken form, youâ€™re going to be upset.
Errors happen. They are inevitable, but how marketers overcome the error and communicate back to the client doesnâ€™t have to be.
Here are 5 steps to remember helping you overcome errors and ensure client satisfaction.
1. Acknowledge â€“ Whatâ€™s more infuriating than a hair in your meal, is the server telling you that itâ€™s your own. The same rule applies here; your first step is acknowledging the mistake. A client is going to be upset about a mistake, but theyâ€™re going to more upset if the marketer tries to deny it or even worse tries to conceal it.
If you or your firm finds the mistake before the client, be honest. You donâ€™t want to wait until they figure it out on their own, get worked up writing an email explaining your own error to you and then stew waiting for your response.
2. Apologize â€“ Seems simple, yes? But itâ€™s really not because apologizing means admitting that youâ€™ve made a mistake. Itâ€™s okay to apologize.
Now that the mistake has been addressed, the next step is communicating the mistake back to the client. Start off your communication â€“ whether it is via email or phone – with a sincere apology. You will be surprised how far this will get you in resolving the situation.
For mistakes with a big impact, I recommend a phone call.
3. Explain – In the same communication youâ€™re drafting in Step 2, be sure to explain to the client what happened. Not too important in the old hair in your meal scenario, itâ€™s pretty easy to understand.
But when something goes wrong with an email campaign, the client will want to know what happened and why it happened. Information is key and the client deserves to know, whether itâ€™s a flaw in the review process or a technical glitch.
4. Share â€“ After you have apologized for and explained the mistake, the next step is sharing with the client what youâ€™re going to do to fix it.
Picture yourself back at the restaurant with hair in your food; what would you expect? Itâ€™s important that the client feels that you are going above and beyond to resolve the situation.
Some ideas to go above and beyond might include offering an extra link in a press release or sitting in on an extra meeting for consultative purposes.
Identify what can be done to help your client feel like theyâ€™re number 1 and you may even increase client loyalty in the process.
5. Review & Learn â€“ Go back to your review and approval process and identify how the mistake happened. Process is important, especially in growing firms where the process is typically still evolving.
Once youâ€™ve identified where your process breaks down, update your policy to prevent similar mistakes from happening in the future â€“ and to other clients.
After you have updated your process, itâ€™s critical that you communicate the changes back to the client. Doing so, will reassure the client that you are dedicated to performing at the highest level and have his/her companyâ€™s best interest in mind.
The steps above may be a simple reminder of what we should all do when a mistake happens, however in the hysteria surrounding a mistake itâ€™s easy to forget the importance of communicating with the client. Remember – lack of communication to the client is the biggest mistake of all.
Marketers: Must Have Review Habits
1. Read the campaign backwards. This will help you catch spelling errors, grammar and punctuation mistakes.
2. Send the campaign to a co-worker with a fresh pair of eyes.
3. Review contact forms during the review process and again the day of the email campaign. Forms can break between you final approval and the distribution date.