How I recovered from doing, what I tell my customers not to do


My heart stopped for a minute and my fingers froze in mid-air. I’d sent out a newsletter to my customers with not 1, but 2 spelling/grammar errors.

Now in the whole scheme of things, you may think that was no big deal, BUT the newsletter was focused very strongly on how seemingly little things can do big damage to your business. The newsletter included a whole paragraph providing examples of those little things and right on the top of the list was; incorrect spelling and/or poor grammar in your written communication.

How’s that for irony. My surname might be Schreck but I sure felt like Donkey!

Once I returned my heart to its normal rhythm and I could no longer feel my blood racing through my veins, I went into action.

I did 3 things and as you will see below, the opportunity for success is often disguised as a mistake.

  1. I called my top 10 clients – regardless of if they had opened the email or not.


  • Some great giggles from sharing ‘whoops’ stories - relationship building.

  • Sale of a product a business owner hadn’t had time to contact me about.

  • A Manager shared his current ‘pain’ regarding his frontline team so I gave him advice on the spot. He was incredibly thankful so I asked for a referral to another business I may be able to help – referral gained.

2. I sent a follow up email with the subject line; ‘I just made the worst mistake.’


  • That newsletter gained more opens than the initial newsletter thus reminding me that subject lines need to be catchy

2. I offered a free copy of my book to anyone who could find my mistakes.


  • More of my business expertise out into the world.

Now I know not everyone has written a book, but we all have something we can provide that is no or low cost and will add great value to your customers.

For example,

1. A document that provides 5 hints or tips. Freely sharing your expertise, particularly if it solves customer problems, is a high value customer interaction.

2. A ‘how to’ video that shows you in action - again, share things that help to solve customer problems.

3. A list of annual celebration days so businesses can prepare in advance. Anything you can do to make your customers lives easier will be greatly appreciated.

Here’s a few to help you this year;

  • Jeans for Genes Day - Aug 2nd

  • Blue Ribbon Day - Sept 29th

  • Admin Professionals Day - May 3rd

  • Volunteers’ Week May 20th - 26th.

The majority of customers forgive minor and rare mistakes but if you have solutions ready for if/when it happens, you can turn that mistake into a win for you and your customers….and you can return your heart rate to normal much quicker.

By Cate Schreck - Author of “The A - Z of Service Excellence”