(Definition of recovery from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
A proper recovery process is imperative to my operation. Why? Because I’m human and I screw up sometimes. During the course of any operation in any business, it is safe to assume that either you or someone employed by you will make a mistake that cost your company money, time, or both. What processes and procedures to you have in place to bring consistency to the recovery process?
I have some guidelines that over the years have proven extremely helpful in getting tough issues diffused if not totally resolved.
Step One: Manage expectations properly. You have to set the proper tone and time frame for delivery prior to launching your product or service. Plan for mistakes and screw ups. They will happen.
Properly assess what is expected by your clients or customers and train your people accordingly. Be mindful, people will treat you, your people, and your company’s procedures the way they are trained to for the most part. There are some exceptions. If you are in e-commerce for instance, a bar has been set by Amazon and Walmart and all others are measured against those standards. This makes it all the more imperative that you manage your customer’s expectations properly.
Tip: The best way to exceed expectations is to lower them. If you promise someone you’ll do something in three days, know you can deliver in two and do it.
Step Two: Own the issue. When a mistake happens, live by this mantra. “It may not be my fault, but it is my responsibility.” If you and your staff have this kind of attitude, less drama will take place and people won’t escalate trivial issues into nonsense.
I recently received a very interesting meeting request from a foreign dignitary relative to a Blue Ocean Strategy conversation. I missed the notification entirely. By the time I saw it, it was 45 minutes into our scheduled time. I realized that I hadn’t put proper notification systems in place. As a result, I screwed up. My core recovery process? Own it. I immediately emailed the gentleman, also connecting with him via LinkedIn and made him aware it was completely MY issue and nothing he did was wrong. I apologized and asked kindly for a reschedule. This is all I can do. It was a minor violation of his time given the automated nature of the appointment tool used by it was my responsibility to correct the issue, not his.
Step Three: Provide a remedy. If your mistake cost the client money or time, do what is possible to redeem their expense monetarily or with added time. Generally, the more you do to correct the error, the higher the appreciation. Empower your people with the resources to correct mistakes, their own and those made by colleagues with as much immediacy and leeway as necessary.
With these three steps in place, you and your company can establish a consistent recovery process that restores lost consumer confidence, enhances employee confidence, and serves to make your company a standard of operational excellence.
Now having tweaked my own appointment processes, please know I’m always ready for a Blue Ocean Strategy chat. If you’d like to schedule a free hour to discuss strategic planning, strategic marketing, or business issues of any type, I’m anxious to do so.
Sherman G. Mohr is an Insead Certified Blue Ocean Strategist residing in Nashville, TN. He serves as Co-Founder of marketing, tech, and Telehealth firms based in Tennessee.