Branding Speaker, Trainer, and Coach

The #1 Thing you MUST DO If You Goof

The #1 Thing you MUST DO If You Goof!




  • The tickets to Wednesday night’s State of the Union address invited guests to the State of the Uniom.” Ooops!
  • I bring my husband’s pants to the tailor, pick them up, pay for them, and they clearly haven’t been hemmed.
  • I try a new facialist and somehow, my eyes burn and turn a fierce red.

It’s not a matter of if you’re gonna slip, it’s a matter of when. In fact, research shows that the better you deal with a goof, the higher the loyalty than if you’ve never goofed at all!

It’s not a matter of if you’re gonna slip, it’s a matter of when. Research shows that the better you deal with a goof, the higher the loyalty than if you’ve never goofed at all! Click To Tweet

In my 2 personal experiences above with service providers, I got rapid-fire responses. The owner of the spa personally drove over to my house to deliver a cooling gel; she also called me the next day to see how I was doing. Wowza!

At the tailors, I receive an apology and she wants to know if she can do anything else. Yes, you can.

BUT, both business owners overlooked the #1 act in fixing a goof: she didn’t invite me back to the business to try them again!

In my days at the consumer giant Quaker Oats, we called these “bounce back” offers; customers make a purchase and then you incentivize them to try you again. With both my spa and tailors, they haven’t offered me a reason, a coupon, or an incentive to prove that they are worthy of a second look. Instead, I’ll just leave the business with a bad taste in my mouth.

Just because you slip, doesn't mean your customer is guaranteed to leave. When you goof, offer a bounce back #incentive to keep them coming back! Click To Tweet

If, for example, you’re a printer who goofs, fixing the mistake and waiving all fees is good for the customer. BUT, without a bounce back offer, you never have the opportunity to earn their loyalty!

What does this mean for you? 4 Steps for Dealing with Your Goof

  1. Acknowledge the Problem ASAP – Don’t sweep it under the rug or pretend you won’t get caught because it this Internet-happy world you will!
  2. Issue an Apology – If you’ve offended anyone or a group, just spit it out. A spokesman for the sergeant of arms said it acknowledged the typo and is reprinting and redistributing tickets.
  3. Fix It – Go beyond talking to doing; take any action steps you can.
  4. Incentivize Customers to Come Back – For one of my early clients in Chicago, we printed Bagel Bucks so that we could quickly apologize and give customers a reason to come back for another bite.
Dealing with your goof is as easy as 1-Acknowledge the problem ASAP, 2- Apologize, 3- Fix it, and 4- Offer an Incentive to come back. Click To Tweet

When have you goofed and how have you fixed it? Please share your stories me in the comment section.

Wishing you sizzling success!


  1. Great points, Liz. How often have many of us received a “free” meal at a restaurant when the entree was just not up to par? This is a good idea, but as you point out, the better idea is to waive the entree fee AND provide a coupon for 1/2 off an entree the next time – something to incentivize the customer to come back!

  2. Great advice. I learned one other imperative, never negotiate with them, give them what they want. When you negotiate you send a message that their business isn’t that important to you. Offer them something to make it right, if they aren’t pleased, ask them what it will take and give it to them without hesitation. Most of the time they won’t ask for more than you are willing to give.

  3. I love the key point here: ASK them! Often, it is not the free mail, printing, etc., but that their voice has been heard. And, that in the future, things will change.

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