We’re all human, and from time to time, mistakes are made. Whether it’s your fault or not, you may find yourself in a position of rebuilding a customer’s trust.
This is an “elephant in the room” situation. You can’t hide from it. What you need to do is address the issue immediately and take responsibility. If there’s a way you can intervene and prevent further damage, do so. Explain what you’re going to do to make things better, breaking it down piece by piece.
Don’t fear visiting this customer in-person if you can. Face time is always more effective than a call or an email. Tell them, “Listen, I apologize for what has happened. I know we had a problem here. I’m going to make it my personal mission to make sure we do right by you.”
There are times I’ve recommended bringing someone higher up on the food chain to come along. Imagine if someone you were doing business with had made a mistake, then showed up in-person with their boss or the CEO of the company to talk out a solution. That would definitely be a step in the right direction.
Many people say that a broken bone heals to be stronger than before. Truth be told, science tells us that’s incorrect. However, I do believe that attending to the fracture in a business relationship is like mending a break and shepherding it along the path to recovery. And if done correctly, that business relationship would likely be stronger than before, if only because the mending process allowed you to show your true character, building trust along the way.