Learning from your mistakesPosted by Luis Serpa on May 3, 2007 - 9:05 PM
Here’s a good lesson to everyone that deals with customer experience:
Learn from your mistakes.
I know it seems obvious, but people usually confuse “acknowledge a mistake” with actually learning from them.
Here are some examples:
- The company recognizes that something went wrong but is unable to pinpoint the real problem
- The company recognizes that something went wrong, identifies it, and brushes it under the carpet before anyone in the company can notice
- The company identifies what is wrong, apologizes and/or rectifies the past occurrence, but doesn’t prevent future problems
- The company identifies the problem, apologizes, researches possible permanent solutions and, after facing unclear or too numerous long-term options, gives up and decides on a quick-fix
- The company identifies the problem, apologizes, and researches a permanent solution, but then deems it unachievable or too expensive – and just forgets about it
What should happen: The company recognizes the problem, identifies its cause, apologizes, and immediately corrects the situation. After acting appropriately and getting feedback from its customer base, the company looks for more permanent solutions and quickly implements them. After learning from experience, the company should never again repeat the same mistake (at least not in the same way) again.
It is easy to know that you have a problem, but not so easy to identify where the root of the problem resides. And it’s hard to react well, even harder to correct, and quite unusual to actually prevent the same thing from happening again.
Well… Unusual, but not unheard of. In fact, some companies are not only able to learn from their mistakes but can also benefit from them. Facebook’s recent redesign is an excellent example of this.
Recently, they had a security related problem that actually revealed more personal information than wanted by their users. After getting a negative reaction from hundreds of thousands of their customers, Facebook’s quick response and whole approach to the problem rewarded them with an explosive growth on their membership, jumping from 7.5 million users to 18 million after the crisis.
Facebook’s example proves how valuable (and cost effective) this approach can be, and makes me wonder why most companies still refrain from implementing it every day.
Originally published on Vox Customerspective Blog
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