Accident recovery in business


Business life is not always perfect. Sometimes things go wrong. A client has a bad experience. It may well not be your fault, but the client may not share that perception. You have to work out what you can do to make things better.

In my tax world, I might get a client coming to me who has made a mess of their financial affairs. Maybe that mess goes back a number of years. They expect help to get out of their mess. I may be able to make things less bad. If they need a deal with the tax authorities I can very likely do better than they could. What I cannot do is make the past go away. I can’t change history. That is not my fault. I have to explain that the client is getting the best outcome I can manage ( and often they can be remarkably good) but it still involves writing a cheque for a lot of money.


If I want to keep the client, that client has to have a feel-good feeling, and that feeling comes from their perception. I will help them understand that they are in a better place than they might have been. They have been fortunate. That will help their confidence and themselves and it will boost their confidence in me if I want to keep them as a client. They need a full explanation of everything that has happened since they came to me.


Sometimes a business can get something really wrong. Complementary therapy practitioners rely very much on giving the feel-good factor to their clients. Imagine if a therapist accidentally physically hurts a client but not so seriously as to be sued, with a little inattention, or the client just has a bad experience. It could happen to any service-providing person in a metaphorical sense, of course.

So the client is unhappy. He is likely to tell his friends, including some who may already see the same complementary practitioner. The business is likely not only to lose the client, but several others as well.

Damage limitation

What should the practitioner do? Well, firstly, be very apologetic and take responsibility. Offer some free less risky sessions. Send some flowers. Limit the damage, because if the client still mentions the incident to friends he well also say that our therapist has been very kind and caring in the aftermath. Business may not be lost. The client may regain the feel-good factor and continue to visit for further sessions.

Save the day

Whether we have an unhappy client because something has really gone wrong, or because they simply do not appreciate our service, if we know about it we must work on our relationship. Provide as much information as we can. Give something extra, something to make them feel special, even flowers or chocolates can do the trick. We must not just stand by and shrug our shoulders. That can cost far more than giving that little bit extra.

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