We All Make Mistakes

One of the more frustrating elements of any job can be chasing for money; no-one likes doing it, yet unless we get paid promptly, we simply can’t function as a business. It’s also true that some clients can take more chasing than others; they are impossible to get hold of and when you do manage to get through, they haven’t got time to speak. Days can turn into weeks and even months before you get a meaningful conversation – incredibly frustrating!

It was one such client that I had been calling and calling over several weeks, when I finally got through on her mobile to talk to her. “Hi Julie” I said, relieved to finally to speak to her rather than to her voicemail, “how are you?”. “Sorry Bill, no time to talk” she said, obviously in a hurry.
“I’ll call you back”. “No problem” I replied, knowing she wouldn’t.

Suddenly I felt incredibly annoyed. Why should I put up with this? It was obvious she was avoiding having a conversation with me and so I wrote a stinging e-mail to my boss describing her in very un-flattering terms and finishing with the line ‘and this is just typical of the way she treats us!’.
I pressed send, immediately feeling better. Until that is, I remembered in the “to” field I had put Julie’s name instead of my boss’s!

“Oh my god what have I done!!!” I thought as I ran over to where the broadband was connected and literally ripped it out of the wall. I ran back to the computer and checked my sent items where there was no sign of the e-mail – I had caught it just in time. My relief was short-lived however when about a minute later I received an e-mail from Julie which simply said
“Don’t bother contacting me again”. The e-mail had been sent after all…

With trembling hands I dialled my boss and told him what I had done. “Hmmm” he responded, “Bill I think you know what you should do.” With a heavy heart I hung up and dialed Julie’s number which of course went straight to voicemail and I apologised profusely, admitting my mistake and took full responsibility.

As you can imagine I did not get a call back (although the bill eventually got paid) and I resigned myself to the fact that I had lost a client. That is until almost a year later when my phone rang and to my surprise it was Julie! “Bill” she said “I have an interest in another business and I think we need your help…”
When you make a mistake admit it clearly and emphatically. You never know what might happen…

To learn more about communication skills download Communicate with Diplomacy and Tact