Tips of the Trade: “Four Cures for Foot-in-Mouth Disease”
By Meryl K. Evans and Hank Stroll, www.marketingprof.com
William Shatner’s character in Boston Legal, Denny Crane, puts his foot in his mouth all the time and doesn’t apologize for it. But, in the real world, when we say something untoward about someone, we can’t let it slide. Instead, we blush, we feel our hearts race, and we want to bite our tongues. Months later, we might be able to laugh it off.
Yet, when a situation involves a client or colleague, laughing it off isn’t likely. Instead, we experience awkward moments when we run into the person or anyone who knows about the slip of the tongue. The fact that we feel embarrassed about the situation indicates we do care and want to show remorse.
Read on for sound advice on how to handle verbal blunders.
Marketing Challenge: My marketing team and I placed a conference call to one of our clients. We got his voicemail, so I left a message and hit the phone’s “flash” button to end the call. My team and I continued to discuss the client and said some disparaging things. To our chagrin, we heard his voicemail finally disconnect. This meant that when he listened to his voicemail, he heard the uncomplimentary things we said.
I’m embarrassed. I tried to apologize to him but felt that what I said was “lame” and accepted rather coolly.
What would you do to repair the relationship?
Salvaging the Unsalvageable
No matter the road you take, dealing with this type of situation is hard. The damage is done, and the relationship might never be the same. However, the situation may still be salvageable. Clients who may be difficult to work with still keep your company in business.
Let’s hope this hard-learned lesson means the slip of the tongue won’t happen again, once you’ve worked through it using any of the following actions: