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What to do when you make a mistake


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Last week, a buyer uploaded the wrong script to their voice-over order.

They noticed their mistake, corrected it immediately, and asked me if that would be a problem.

The word count was very similar, so I told the buyer that I would make sure to record the correct script. 

Typically, I download all scripts I need to record the next day before the end of my workday. But this time, I forgot.

The next day I sat in my booth, and I noticed, so I pulled the scripts directly from the orders on Fiverr. The recording session went fine, and I delivered all my orders. 

Five minutes later, the buyer sent a revision request. I had sent them the wrong voice-over based on the wrong script that they had uploaded when placing the order. 

It was time to pull up my "I blew this" checklist. I thought I'd share it with you guys. It might help you deal with situations like this.

Here it is: 

  1. Own your mistake. Take responsibility for what happened and apologize. Be sincere. It was your fault. Don't point fingers at anyone else. 
  2. Explain why the mistake happened, and stick to the truth. If you forgot, tell them. It helps to humanize you. The buyer can relate to forgetting because everyone does it sometimes. 
  3. Offer the buyer some incentive to return, like a discount on their next order. It shows that you're sincere and want to make this up to them. It does make a difference, even if they never order from you again. 
  4. Ask the buyer what you can do to make it better while stating the obvious (in this case: "I will re-record this for you immediately. Given that we are where we are, is there anything else I can do to make this better?") The client wanted to make a minor edit to their script this time around but didn't want to ask for it, because it would be added work for me. I told them I'd be more than happy to add those lines, free of charge. That's the least I could do. 

Even though the buyer had to wait a couple of hours longer, I managed to turn the situation around.

That's how you deal with your mistakes. You don't blame the buyer. You don't try to shift the blame onto someone else or something external. 

You don't come up with some wild story about how the cat ate your keyboard.

I've worked with several sellers on Fiverr who did that. You won't believe the stories I've heard. One guy even took the time to write 500 words of bull*** about how his daughter was pregnant. He looked like he was about 18 on his profile picture. I called him out, and he changed his explanation to "he forgot." Don't be that seller. 

Edited by smashradio
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Hi Smashradio, I completely agree with you. Making mistakes is something we humans tend to do from time to time. Of course, no one wants to repeat that but it happens. Even when making mistakes, you have to realize that it is an opportunity for you to test your honesty skills, be clear, shut your ego off, and own it. I say "opportunity" because sometimes this can have a positive influence on your customer as he/she sees you as another normal person. A couple of days ago I delivered the wrong video and my client, asked and I told him the truth. Short and simple. A couple of minutes later, it was already solved.

Be honest, be responsible and own it. Well said Mr. Smashradio

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  • 4 months later...

Great post! This is a very important topic that we all need to understand and learn. Being honest and responsible is something we should learn from a young age. 

I loved the way you handled the situation. I also liked the part where you wanted to offer some incentive like a discount on the next order. 

Thank you for posting this piece! 

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