Honesty goes a long way with customers even though we feel sometimes that admitting our mistakes makes the customer think less of our business. Customers are looking for trustworthiness and relationships with the businesses they frequent; honesty sows the connection.
Let me give you an example where a mistake was recovered for greater loyalty. I have a 1993 old Isuzu Trooper and in small towns like Escanaba, Michigan you can't always get what you want due to its isolated location in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
I took a referral and dropped my truck off. They couldn't find an axle and I had to search it out for them. Annoying!!! They also quoted me a ludicrous amount for the cost of repairs. I explained that it shouldn't take 4 hours to change an axle and tighten a wheel bearing.
In the back of my head I kept thinking I made a costly mistake bringing it to them. It wasn't a mom and pop shop but one of the larger mechanic businesses in the town. I thought they could be trusted.
To my surprise when I called to check on the vehicle, it was already finished and the $750 quote went down to $256 final price. They recovered with their honesty. They actually charged the time it took them versus what they could soak me for.
The lesson learned here is that honesty, even after mistakes, can lead to loyalty. It leaves a positive impression of the business that often leads to future purchases. While your business might lose a few dollars today it does offer a lifetime customer strategy that earns more in the big picture.
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