Recovering from Mistakes

Long ago, far away (OK, about an hour from where I write this) … in a softball game, I  failed to catch a ball thrown to me at first base. This disappointed my coach because he depended on me to catch a reasonable throw every time. He forgave those occasional wild throws out of my reach. But not this one.

Cleveland Indian shortstop drops ball
Photo from flickr user Keith Allison

As soon as the team got all three outs and came off the field into the dugout, I went to the coach. The look on his face confirmed my suspicions that he’d be disappointed in me. I apologized and told him I’d hit a home run to make up for it.

That was some promise for 12-year-old me. I excelled in softball, but I didn’t hit homers in every game or every other game. I felt bad about my mistake and wanted to make up for it.

And I did.

The Proof’s in the Pizza

People can recover from business mistakes. They happen and most of us rational folks accept that. It’s how we handle the mistakes that impress or depress customers. Amy Ravit Korin ordered pizza from Dominos online without talking to anyone. You’d think placing an order online would cut errors since you don’t have anyone speaking or listening in the equation. It’s all in writing (typing).

Not only did the pizza arrive over an hour late, but also it wasn’t the pizza she ordered. Korin tweeted a pizza her mind 🙂 about the experienced in Twitter. Ramon DeLeon, the owner, caught her tweet and responded that he would make it up to her. First, he sent the correct pizza.

The next morning, he apologized in a video that also included the store manager. Despite its mistake, Domino’s gained respect and lots of video embeds for owing up to its mistake.  DeLeon also provides Domino’s pizza for over 350 people at a social media gathering in which Korin was involved in unbeknownst to him. (Talk about fate!)

Customer Service All A-Twitter

When I’ve complained on Twitter and received a response from the company, I’d follow up with a positive tweet about the company. Do a search for #customerservice and you’ll see complaints, compliments and job listings. Here are a few minus the job listings.

Baulch: Major props to Apple for registering my Portection Plan for my iPhone 4, even though I bought it 31 days out of warranty. #CustomerService.

rissipiecie: So my meds were messed up earlier…the head pharmacist personally brought them to my home…45 mins away…now that’s #CustomerService
msnods: So they’re out of rice @chipotle and its going to be 10 minute wait so they gave everyone in line a free bag of chips. #customerservice

KennaLuguri: Just got great #customerservice  over the phone from #Sears. Is it bad that I’m now more surprised by good customer service than I am by bad?

PatrickCSanders: Just had the absolute worst #customerservice experience @vapiano_usa on 18th&M NW #DC. Absent-minded chefs/mgmt, & food that never showed!

HeyyyGuyyy: Horrible #customerservice by @BestBuy_Deals during Hurricane Irene – Picture #BestBuy #Irene

I checked on the company accounts of the two negative tweets. No acknowledgment. Another user started a conversation with @PatrickCSanders about experiences with Vapaino.

People will talk about you and your company without you. While we can’t control anything online, we can listen and acknowledge it. It can mean the difference between negative publicity and earning customer advocates.

What mistake did you experience that you complained about online? Did the company respond? Have you turned a problem into a positive experience? What happened?

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