I help coach a recreation soccer team in our town that two of my children play on. This past weekend, our team played a game in which I realized afterwards that we should have done a better job of substituting players. The other coach and I acknowledged our mistakes, apologized to the players and parents for the oversight, and pledged to balance the playing time for the players going forward. There's a lesson here for companies that fail to own up to blunders that damage customer trust.My wife and I had a recent experience with a local restaurant that's led us both to question our loyalty with the establishment. It's an Italian restaurant that also makes takeout pizza. The restaurant changed ownership a few years ago and the quality of its pizzas improved dramatically. One of its specialties is a penne alla vodka pie.
Last week, we decided to order one of these pies. My wife called and placed the order and I picked up the pie. When I returned home with the pizza, we discovered that the pie had the pink vodka sauce we expected but not the penne pasta.
When my wife called the restaurant to calmly voice her displeasure, an appropriate response from the restaurant manager would have been to apologize for the error and offer some kind of a perk, like a small discount on a future order. Instead, the manager failed to acknowledge the restaurant's error, didn't apologize, and instructed my wife on how to specify her order more clearly.
As Don Peppers, founding partner of Peppers & Rogers Group shared in a previous blog post, a trustable company is one that not only admits when a mistake has been made to customers but attempts to take corrective actions afterward.
Nobody's perfect. Everyone is fallible; it's part of being human. Companies that own up to their errors help to demonstrate their trustability and ultimately strengthen their relationships with their customers.