Friday, January 27, 2012

Power Marketing Tip 43: Oops We Made a Mistake

Oops! We made a mistake

You need to include that phrase in your marketing plan. Why? Because you are not perfect and you will make mistakes.

It’s normal to make mistakes and most of the time your clients will forgive your mistakes if you admit your mistakes and apologize.

Admitting your mistake and apologizing can be a powerful marketing technique. If you handle this well you can gain fanatically loyal clients.

Coke made a big mistake with the launch of New Coke. They responded quickly and reintroduced Coke Classic. That made Coke drinkers happy again.

British Petroleum
Do this poorly and you could lose longtime clients and chase away future clients.

BP CEO, Tony Hayward, might be the poster child for mishandling the “Oops we made a mistake” message when he spoke about the Gulf oil disaster.

Your mistakes might not be that grand but you can learn from those two extremes.

When our breakfast finally arrived, it was cold. We were hungry and reluctant to complain so we ate. When the waitress reappeared and asked “How is everything?” we hesitated then told her the truth. She clearly didn’t expect that and responded with, “I’ll ask the cook what happened.” That was not what we wanted.

I believe I know what happened – she waited too long to pick up.

Like Tony Hayward, her first reaction was to blame someone else. Perhaps she wasn’t allowed to make mistakes and clearly she wasn’t trained on how to handle a mistake.

List the mistakes you have made. Add the possible mistakes you might make. Then for each mistake describe how you or your staff could handle it. Include ideas on appropriate phrases to use, possible restitution and escalation if needed.

Remember your purpose is to save or gain a loyal client.

It’s amazing how “Oops! We made a mistake” can soften up mistreated clients.

George Torok
Power Marketing

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