How Do You Accommodate Your Clients When You Inconvenience Them?

Recently I was traveling; I was on an airplane ride. We were all lined up ready for takeoff when the pilot told us we had to go back to the gate for a possible mechanical problem. As they checked it out, there was a fuel leak and we all had to get off the plane and wait for two hours and forty-five minutes. For some people this may have meant they missed flights. For us, it was more of an inconvenience. We did miss some activities we had planned at our destination, but we were grateful to have arrived safely.  Our trip could have had a much more tragic ending.

 As we finally boarded the plane, after waiting almost three hours, one of the passengers who was sitting near me asked the flight attendant if they would be able to accommodate us with free Direct TV on the flight or free snacks or drinks, all of which they were charging for. The flight attendant said, “Sorry, we’re not able to do that.” It was a little bit frustrating because we had been inconvenienced. Although they were trying to keep us safe, it was their problem and it caused a problem for the rest of us.

A couple of days later, I did get an email apologizing for the inconvenience and offering a fraction of the cost of the flight in a credit towards that airline at a later date. This experience got me thinking about you as a business owner. What do you do when something goes wrong in your business and inconveniences your clients?

There are a few things you could do. One thing you could do is comp them some service, like the passenger asked for. Maybe it’s something that you offer to your clients already and you can throw it in as an extra and say, “listen, I’m not going to charge you for this. I’m going to do this extra because of the inconvenience or problem that you had.” Another thing you can do is offer a credit like the airline did for the passengers on that flight.

Another thing you may want to consider is writing a note of apology and sending out a gift. This isn’t always necessary. It depends on how upset the client is, how bad the mistake is, and how personal the relationship is.  It’s more than a nice gesture to accommodate clients, it is vital to your reputation. Make them feel like they’re heard and their time and trouble is acknowledged.

Find a way to acknowledge things when they go wrong. An apology gift can be as little as five dollars, just a gesture to show that you’re sorry. It can be as big as $100 if you’ve done something big or done something multiple times. It depends on the situation. If you need help coming up with a way to accommodate your clients who you have inconvenienced, please contact us at Touch Your Client’s Heart.

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