No one wants to face a crisis at work. Whether it be growing distrust in your company or a failed product launch, a meltdown of epic proportions can really harm your business in the long run.
Take Samsung's recent Galaxy Note 7 launch. What was supposed to be one of the best new smartphones one the market, launched by the biggest smartphone retailer in the world, turned into a massive failure for the South Korean tech giant. Reports of their Note 7's batteries exploding and phones catching fire led to a massive recall of the phone. And now, after replacement phones continued to explode, Samsung was forced to stop production and sale of the Note 7 completely, leading to a projected $17 billion, with a "B," loss in revenue.
What Samsung will do next is anyone's guess, but they certainly aren't the first company to experience a major breakdown in consumer trust. What matters is what you choose to do after a crisis.
We've got a few tips that we think might help better prepare you for an unfortunate product failure, if it ever happens to you.
As a lot of people wore wise than myself had said, "it's not the mistake you made that matters, it's what you do after it." That's true for not only life, but your business as well. Whatever your mistake was, whether it be poor marketing, a decline in revenue, a faulty product or something more serious, you have to decide immediately after the mistake is made what to do next. It could be to issue an apology to your customers, or a refund. But inaction can be worse than the blunder itself. Inaction says to your customers that you don't want to fix the problem, and are simply concerned with brushing it under the rug.
Another mistake that people fall into is feeling sorry for themselves (also known as a pity party). You have to realize that you're not the only one who makes mistakes. Every great company, and every great leader has made mistakes.
Thomas Edison famously said about his struggles to invent the light bulb, "I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
Keep that in mind when you think all hope is lost. There's always a positive side to every situation.
How do you fix a mistake? First of all, you need to identify what caused the problem. Once you get to the source of the problem you can say, "this is what we did wrong this time. Let's do it differently next time."
Learning from your mistakes is the key to growing as a business. It will help you get to the point in your business where you're okay with some failure, because you know you can do it better next time.
Of course, you're never going to know if you can do it better next time if you don't try again. Having the courage to try again and again until you get it right makes all the difference in terms of your confidence, and your customers' confidence in you. Customers want to know that you have things under control, that you aren't afraid to get back out there and show them you can be trusted again. Depending on the level of error you made, you might have to earn back their trust. But there's something special about doing that, too. You're working toward getting their trust back, and it makes you more trustworthy in many people's eyes.
Controversy and problems come and go, but your response to a crisis is what matters. Show your customers you can correct your mistakes, and lift up your reputation as an honest, trustworthy company once again!
Contributor Caleb Hennington is a 24-year-old writer, who manages the Atwill Media and FGmarket blogs. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.
When not writing, Caleb enjoys camping, running, collecting comic books, and binge-watching shows on Netflix.