We’ve stuffed up a major client’s order. How do I repair the damage?

Well first up, if you haven’t already, you need to apologise.

By admitting that you stuffed up, the client might feel a tiny bit better (depending on the size of the stuff up!).  You also need to:

  • Work out how you are going to fix up things for the client.
  • Work out where things went wrong.
  • What you can do in the future to stop this happening again.

Of these, the most important thing is to find a solution – if you haven’t already.  Then don’t just solve it, but improve upon what you were doing before – for example, in my case I might give them five extra Mocks free. I then would say to them something like “I really appreciate your patience in sorting this out, and to say thank you I’d love to give you some free Mocks”.

If the stuff up resulted in something being brought to your attention that can improve things for other clients and your order process, then I would thank them for telling you about it. 

This has happened a few times recently for me, with website glitches stuffing up orders. One order was even sent without the Mock they ordered!  I have been sending a card with a handwritten note to thank them for bringing it to my attention.  The results have turned those potentially ex-customers into raving fans.

At the end of the day, I always think if I were the customer how would I want to be treated and what would make me feel special?  That age old saying about one customer telling 10 others when they have had a bad experience is so true – and you don’t want that!


Lara Solomon is the founder of Mocks, mobile phone socks www.MyMocks.com and author of Brand New Day – the Highs & Lows of Starting a Small Business. Lara’s business LaRoo was the winner of the NSW Telstra Micro-Business Award in 2008.

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