September 8, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Perfection

As a business person, must you always be perfect? Are you supposed to always perform exactly as expected? Do you demand perfection from your employees? Do you expect your business partners to be perfect in their performance?
I have never met anyone who was always perfect. It doesn’t matter if it is normal business performance, following up on promises or requests, or making daily decisions that may seem mundane; we all make mistakes. To expect any more would be unreasonable and ridiculous on our part as realists.
What happens when you, or one of your staff, make a mistake? Do you hold your staff to standards far above those to which you hold yourself accountable? Would you fire yourself for making the same mistake as one of your employees? Errors are a wonderful teaching opportunity for all of us.
Mistakes, which are normal for everyone, are a chance for us to learn. They may also be opportunities to learn what the result may be when we try something new. We must learn from our mistakes, as well as those of others. We learn to not repeat the error, or we learn to change our actions to accommodate the results that we did not anticipate.
Have you ever make an error in your actions that produced results that were better than you would have received if you had never erred in the first place? It sometimes works out that way. The error becomes the path of action that we never considered or, if we did, would have never followed, but may be successful in a different manner.

I never expect anyone to be perfect in every instance of their daily actions. I may be disappointed, but I never expect perfection. It’s not that they fail to perform to the expected level, but how they react to their errors defines what type of business operation they have. What do they do as a result of their errors?

Do they take ownership of an error, no matter who in their organization failed to perform correctly, or do they blame everyone else? Does the owner of the business or a lower level manager take charge and accept responsibility for an error? Whoever your internal organization determines was responsible does not matter to the client who has suffered from mistakes; take ownership of each error and move on to fixing them.

After accepting an error, takes steps to fix it and attempt to return the client to the point originally anticipated. You may not be able to do this completely, but try anyway. In addition, make the inconvenience up to the client is some way. In other words, try to over-compensate the client for their situation. They may surprise you in their reaction.

Finally, take action to prevent the mistake from reoccurring, and tell the client what you have done. I may forgive a business for the error that affected me, but I may not refer anyone to them if they don’t convince me that the mistake may not happen again, especially to my referral. Fixing the problem is one action; fixing the cause is another.

Please leave your comments here, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691. Errors will happen to all of us in our business operations, and no one should expect perfection. When mistakes do occur, how do you react, and how do you treat the client and the person making the error? If you are the damaged client, how do you treat the business partner who failed to be perfect in their service to you?

1 comment:

  1. A former manager of mine once said: It's not whether you have a problem with a customer, you will, it's how you handle the problem that Jim's article and learn how to manage your hits, runs and errors. Bob Bonnell.