It's pretty much a given that we all will make mistakes from time to time. Sometimes our mistakes come with lessons attached and sometimes they are just things that happen. At times, we can overcome our mistakes but other times, our mistakes may prove insurmountable.
Since we already know mistakes are going to happen, the real issue is what are we going to do about them when they do happen?
Years ago, I made a mistake on a Graphic Design job for a client. I had ordered everything exactly right....except for the paper stock. When the job came in, I recognized right away that I had made a mistake. I called the client and told her of the problem. Then, I offered to give her enough pieces to get her through until the reorder was delivered. I immediately placed a reorder of the job - this time, on the correct paper stock! Naturally, I paid for the cost of the reprint and expedited delivery. The customer was happy and I was pleased I had handled the job to her satisfaction.
There have been times when I've dined out and my food order was wrong. Whether it was the fault of the server who took my order or the chef who cooked my order was inconsequential. It's always interesting to me to see how different restaurants handle this sort of problem. The restaurants that have my loyalty are the ones where the server apologizes, the meal is remade and the manager offers a bonus like a dessert or a coupon towards another meal for the inconvenience. The ones that don't offer anything, not even an apology, are the ones I might choose not to revisit. It's all in their definition of good customer service.
In the book, "Confessor", writer Terry Goodkind said, “I'm afraid that we all make mistakes. One of the things that defines our character is how we handle mistakes. If we lie about having made a mistake, then it can't be corrected and it festers. On the other hand, if we give up just because we made a mistake, even a big mistake, none of us would get far in life.”
I think that's what elevates people and businesses and creates customer loyalty. That's the kind of customer service I look for in others and the kind I pride myself on giving my clients!