You have heard stories about longstanding client relationships breaking after a team mishap. This time it is your team that has missed a high-level priority deliverable. No doubt your clients are furious, and you must reply soon to prevent further conflicts. In this Muse article, Dana Hundley discusses 4 ways you can rebuild client relationships after your team messes it up.
Client Relationships and Missing Deadlines
Several things can go wrong, and you cannot blame one person for it. Time is crucial, so act as fast as possible. Following are the ways you can rebuild client relationships when your team messes it up:
No Blaming Each Other: Even if it is the junior teammate’s fault, you cannot blame the individual. The clients will think that you do not have any control over the team otherwise. If you cannot manage your team, how can you deliver on time? You can, however, improve client relationships by working with your team to find solutions. Your team will also know that you have their backs.
Own the Mess: Listen patiently to how the missed deliverable has affected their line of work. The clients would definitely want to know how this mess happened. Be clear but do not give out every detail as that would raise more questions. Ensure you have a plan B before you talk to them because that is what they are going to ask next. The relevant the solution, the better the client relationships.
Personal Apology: It is easier to send an apology email to a client but that does not help improve client relationships. When you apologize over the phone or in person, you have more chance to receive a positive response. Your empathy is transmitted better through your voice and body language than an impersonal email.
Email Only When There Is No Other Way: If your clients are not collocated or you have a deadline that you must cater to, send a well-thought-out email. You can ask for a choice of having a call or a meetup in the email.
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