How to deal with errors in your business

Hi, everyone. It’s Nishi Patel at N-Accounting. And in today’s video, what I wanted to do was just change the topic slightly and talk about how to deal with errors in your business. So this is always a difficult one for people to admit publicly, but let’s be honest in business, things do go wrong sometimes. With the right procedures and processes in place, they will go wrong less often. But what you have to understand is that issues and errors will pop up from time to time, and the way you deal with them will define the quality of your business, and the offering for your clients.

So I just wanted to go into a couple of things, so when you’re talking about errors in business, there are three things that you really need to consider. First one is the goodwill that you’ve already built up with your clients. Let’s face it, for a client to accept an error, and give you the opportunity to correct it… Well, actually, then there’s four things really, first one is the goodwill you build up with your client, because for a client to accept an error, and then let you get on with dealing with it, you have to have over-delivered in the past, you have to be that business that goes the extra mile that wants to absolutely delight its customers. Because ultimately, if you are the kind of business that’s always been kind of average or below average, then when things do go wrong, you are going to have angry customers, because you just haven’t got enough goodwill in the bank with them.

So what you should always think is, an opportunity to delight your customers is always going to repay itself to you down the line. For service-based businesses, why just send an email when you can actually follow up with a phone call? When you’ve done something for a client, why not give them a call back just to see if they’re happy with the outcome? So building up goodwill is a huge part in actually dealing with errors and being able to smooth things open with a client when things do go wrong. Secondly, a client has got to have absolute faith that if something does go wrong in your business, then you are absolutely going to drop what you’re doing, and get that fixed straight away. And they need to have absolute faith that you’re going to get it fixed at your own expense.

So sometimes the way to really communicate that is through actions, because even when minor things have happened in the past, if you’re the kind of business that just says, “Yeah, we’ll drop what we’re doing and get that fixed before we help anyone else.” Then just those little assurances are going to build up. And sometimes if you can have a guarantee which says it, obviously you’ve got to be careful about the wording of the guarantee, because you don’t want prospects thinking things will definitely go wrong, because most of the time they don’t. But what you do need is, if you do put into a guarantee, just make it clear, “Yeah, we’ll drop what we’re doing and we’ll get that fixed.”

So those are two things, two of the four things. Firstly, enough goodwill in the bank, and then faith in the fact that you drop what you’re doing and fix it. The two other things as part of those four things, so three and four, essentially, what you’ve got to do is, you’ve got to have really good processes in place. So really, everything you do in your business should have some sort of written process and a checklist behind it. That’s incredibly important. If you don’t feel like you can write a process or a checklist for that thing you do, especially if it’s customer-facing, then you need to think, “Should I be doing it in the first place? Is this a core part of our offering? Why do I feel like I don’t want to invest in creating a process behind this thing we do?”

And that’s probably because you’re not invested in delivering it, which means you really trying to deliver it. So if it’s something you do in business, have the process and checklist behind it. And then the fourth component is just having good quality dedicated staff. When you have an error or an issue pop up in your business, what you have to do, the most important thing you have to do, apart from obviously fix it, in terms of reflection on the error, all you have to do is understand whether it was caused by the process that you’ve got and the checklist you’ve got not being fit for purpose, or if it was caused by a member of staff, not following that checklist.

So what you need to then identify is, go back to that member of staff and see, “Okay, talk me through all the checks you’ve done.” And ideally, normally your checklist, they’ll be ticking stuff off so, “Show me your checklist.” And then if they’ve gone through everything in checklist and you still have the error, it means you’ve got to add stuff to your checklist and your process. So it’s not that member of staff’s fault, it’s because the process and checklist wasn’t right in the first place. However, if you go through all their checklists and process with them, and it’s clear that they missed stuff, then it’s that member of staff’s fault, and you’ve then got to either think about re-training them, or get to the bottom of what caused it. Were they overworked? Which meant they skipped that important step, or is it because they just don’t understand the importance of the process? In which case they need re-education, or is it that they’re not a good cultural fit for your business, and they don’t believe in the importance of those processes?

Or maybe processes aren’t part of the culture of your business in the first place? In which case you need to make them part of the culture. So this is how you deal with an error in your business. What you’ve got to do is go back and just understand, was it the process, or was it a member of staff? If it was a member of staff, you’ve got to look at why they did it, and whether it’s the case of retraining, or getting them out of the business, or maybe reducing their workloads so they can focus on what they do a bit better. But if it was the process, you’ve got to go back to the process, either rewrite it, or add to it, to make sure it’s absolutely fit for the purpose.

And over the years, this is what we’ve done in our business. Every time something’s wrong, we go back to those processes, and we make sure that they are absolutely detailed and accurate, so then thing can’t go wrong again. Our culture is, things can only ever go wrong once, and that’s over the years, that’s really built up to it and reflected highly on the quality of our work. Usually, it’s not the member of the team, it is the process, where we’re just overlooking something, and it need to be added in. So what I’d say is, if you do have things go wrong in your business, use that as an opportunity to learn and be grateful for that opportunity to learn and improve things.

But things do go wrong, so you’ve just got to live with it. We talk about processes a lot as part of our Million Pound Processes course, and it’s all part of our Apex program, so if you want to understand how as an accountant, we can support you build and develop the processes in your business so it runs without you, and it has a much better resale value, and you get a much better take home pay, then please get in touch with me, either comment on this video, or get in touch with my website and book yourself in for a free business strategy session. It’s a bit late video for me today actually, so I just want to wish you all a good weekend, and we’ll see you next week. And remember, if you found this video useful, you’re just meant to like, share, and follow, and I will see you soon. Thank you.

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