by Shep Hyken, CSP
Mark Twain once said, “I feel bad for the man that can’t spell a word more than one way.”
I guess this was in response to someone finding a mistake in his writings.
The other day I was working with a client. He had hired me to be the opening speaker at a
sales conference. He showed me a letter that we had written him. It was only four sentences
long, but it had three mistakes. Wow, was I embarrassed!
Here is the bottom line. Because of the mistakes, he was uncomfortable about working with
me. I am a professional speaker and author which means that I am in the communications
business. My words are my credibility. And we blew it. No excuse, we let a letter go out
without being properly proofed. As a result, my client had concerns about how well I would
perform in front of his group – and rightfully so.
Mistakes blow credibility. Some mistakes are tolerated more than others. Some mistakes are
inexcusable. But, everyone makes mistakes!
The key in overcoming the mistakes, whatever they may be, is regaining our customer’s
confidence in us. Sometimes it just means accepting responsibility, saying you’re sorry and
not making an excuse for the mistake. Sometimes it is fixing the mistake fast – with an
attitude that shows you care and will do what it takes to make things right. Most of the time,
this helps to restore credibility, especially if the problem or mistake doesn’t happen again.
One of the expectations that our customers (both internal and external) have of us is that we
don’t make mistakes. “No mistakes” isn’t reality, but it is a very good goal. And if there are
mistakes, make sure you fix them and give the customer a renewed confidence to continue
working with you.
P.S. There may be mistakes throughout this publication. We agree with what Mark Twain
said. We also know that we usually catch the mistakes about an hour after we send it out!
Shep Hyken, CSP is a professional speaker and author who works with companies who want to develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more information on Shep’s speaking presentations, (including his customer service speaking programs) books, tapes and learning programs please contact (314) 692-2200. Email: [email protected] Web: www.hyken.com
Copyright ©2004 by Shep Hyken, CSP and Shepard Presentations, LLC