This Episode

Mark Stephenson & Marc Vila

You Will Learn

  • How to solve problems

Resources & Links

Episode 153 – What To Do When You Mess Up

Show Notes

You mess up an order, upset a customer, make a huge mistake, how to handle them and WIN

It’s a good policy to just figure out what you’re going to do IN ADVANCE. What will you do when you or an employee makes a mistake? Don’t wait for someone to be angry or disappointed, figure it out now.


Don’t Panic!

  1. Just like the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – “I like the cover,” he said. “Don’t Panic. It’s the first helpful or intelligible thing anybody’s said to me all day.”
  2. If you Panic you will make an irrational decision.
  3. Panic will yield an emotional response and you want to make a business decision, not an emotional one.


Be nice to yourself

  1. You aren’t stupid or a fool. You made a mistake, all humans do every day.
  2. You will make another mistake tomorrow, probably later today. It’s ok.


Figure out a plan

  1. You will have to address this mistake, what the plan?
  2. What could you do?
  3. Print wrong logo on shirts – you have to order new ones and reprint
  4. You ordered wrong color shirts – will customer be ok with that?
  5. You forgot to file your quarterly taxes – call CPA
  6. Forgot to order shirts – now order will be late


Contact the customer (etc) ASAP

  1. Don’t wait for ALL the answers (necessarily) first
  2. Make sure they know and they have time to react
  3. Be ready for attacks and an emotional response
  4. Apologize
  5. Agree to a solution

Aside – How to apologize properly according to MindTools “How to apologize” which sites psychological research 

  1. Express Remorse (you ARE actually sorry and show it)
  2. Admit Responsibility (It was your mistake or your business’s mistake)
  3. Make Amends (what can you do?)
  4. Promise it won’t happen again (you learned a lesson)


Figure out the source of the problem

  1. How was the mistake made?
  2. Is there something you could do differently next time?
  3. Can you add extra quality control?


What to do if?

  1. What if they want to cancel their order
  2. What if they want the order 100% for free
  3. Should you give a discount or refund
  4. Should you offer free items next time?
  5. What if you cannot resolve it on the first call?

Mistakes are part of business, if you handle them well, the customers you made a mistake with can become your biggest advocates.

Podcasts for Reference:

Episode 63:
Episode 106:
Episode 55:

Products Mentioned in this Episode:

Epson F2100 DTG Printer:
Vapor Apparel:

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