Industry Productivity Trades & Services

An Apology Goes Along Way

Written by Jon Dale

As a business coach for trades businesses, I often refer my customers to people I think will be good for them. And I did this with one of my clients recently.

It went a bit wrong. He got poor service. The principal I referred him to went AWOL. He’s discontinued the project.

I apologised for the duff introduction. And I was a bit disappointed and embarrassed. 

But then,  I was copied on an email from the missing principal to my client. The context of the email was that they’d clearly had a phone conversation at some point where the principal followed up with a full and heartfelt apology, accepted responsibility and proposed a solution to the problem.

It’s not fixed yet. My guy is waiting to see stuff actually happen but it’s gone a long way. Forgiveness is in the air and liking each other again is on the cards.

In short, the opportunity was seemingly lost, my client had dropped it and moved on but a good phone call had revived the situation.

Point – If you’ve made a mistake, consider an apology.

For many of us, a mistake is a very confronting situation. We feel blamed and attacked (perhaps justifiably), and it’s very hard not to feel defensive and respond defensively, ‘Not my fault’, extenuating circumstances, got a good excuse, whatever. Or even pointing the finger back if you hadn’t.

Defensiveness damages relationships. You’ll send a bad situation worse and an apology can fix it.

We all mess up from time to time – it’s inevitable. If you think you never did, I think you’re lying – perhaps, to yourself.

I’m not suggesting you start apologising when you’re not. You’re a trade business. That means you’re a people business – the work of your business gets done by people and your customers are people. Mistakes are going to get made including by you and you need to take care of your relationships with all those people.

So, don’t forget to apologise when you’re in the wrong. Protect your relationships with your staff and with your customers and protect your reputation too. Your reputation is important.  Your business will grow more easily if it provides good service and a disappointed or angry customer can do a lot of damage.

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About the author

Jon Dale

Jon Dale, of Small Fish Business Coaching is a business coach for tradies - trades business owners wanting to grow their businesses. His articles will help you understand how to manage your marketing, sales, operational systems and the people of your business. His program is called the Tradies Toolbox because he hopes you can use it, like a tool, to make more money and build a business you're proud of.

There are a few ways you can explore whether working with Jon is right for you, right now:
1. You can watch these videos - subscribe here to get them emailed every week.
2. You can join the Tradies Business Toolshed Facebook Group and participate.
3. You can attend the next Tools Down Workshop - 2 days of Jon explaining the framework.
4. Or you can book a 10-minute filter call where you and Jon will both look at whether he can help.

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