When you stumble

We’ve all made mistakes or done stupid things or said something we regret. Part of being human seems to include offending other people.

What you do after you stumble strengthens or weakens your relationship with the person or people involved.

Sometimes admitting you stumbled is enough to restore the person’s faith in you and your business.

Sometimes an apology isn’t enough.

Last fall I had a difficult conversation with someone very dear to my heart. I felt wronged by something they said. When I expressed my hurt, all they heard was anger. As soon as I hung up the phone, I felt remorse and hurt. I tried to make it right by apologizing because our relationship was important to me, but the relationship didn’t survive the apology.

The same thing that happens in a personal relationship can happen in business.

When you stumble in business, it is possible you will harm a relationship beyond repair. Any customer service representative can provide numerous stories from people saying, “I’m never coming here again, never buying your product, never using your service, etc.”

What happens when an apology isn’t enough?
You’ve done your best to apologize and make things right. The other person or business isn’t satisfied.

Walk away. You may still want to do business with the person or company, but they don’t. If you pursue them in hopes that they will understand, you risk creating resentment on top of their dissatisfaction. It isn’t easy, but sometimes it makes more sense to end the relationship.

Let it go. Let go of the judgement. Let go of the anger. Let go of the resentment. It is normal for you to feel all these emotions about a business relationship. If you harbor any of this negativity, it will affect your other business relationships.

Remember the lesson you learned from this situation. Write a new policy. Provide additional employee training. Do whatever it takes to prevent the same behavior from happening in the future.

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