Is Zero Defects a Reality?
On June 23, I wrote a post about doing it right the first time, which covered the topics of errors, quality control, and performing correctly. But on June 24, my team made an error. An error that is correctable, but none-the-less, an error that could have been avoided had the proper processes been in place. What does a company do when an error occurs? How do you repair the client relationship, the company reputation and prevent the error from occuring again? Below are the actions that my team took.
- Fess Up: Admit the error. You are human. They are human. Mistakes are made. It is a hard thing to do, but putting it right out front without hiding is the most important thing you can do.
- Apologize: Profusely. Or at least let them know that you made an error and you are going to do everything in your power to correct it and prevent it from occurring again.
- React Accordingly: Your mistake might be very big, or very small. Though your mistake might appear one way to you, it might not be as catastrophic as you perceive, or it might be worse. Take a breath and evaluate the impact the error has on your client relationship and the product you deliver.
- Accommodate: What was the issue? Missed delivery of the project? Poor product? How can you help the client with the inconvenience you caused?
- Evaluate: Make sure you understand WHY the error happened. In my case, a team member was not adequately prepared due to a misunderstanding of the task that needed to be accomplished. We now created a policy that will ensure this will not happen again.
- Restitution: It could be a bottle of wine, a free product or discount on a product, or extra hours of work at no charge. Offering some type of compensation will go miles in helping repair any damage you might have caused by your error.
In the words of Doug Larsen:
“To err is human; to admit it, is super human.
And some other fun variations that I thought you’d enjoy:
- To err is human, but to really foul things up, you need a computer. Paul Ehrlich
- To err is human, but it it feels divine. Mae West
- To err is human, and to blame it on the computer is even more so. Robert Orben
And one final one…
“To err is human, to blame everyone else is politics. Hubert Humphrey