Category Archives: Owning mistakes

Mistakes are inevitable, so how do you handle them?

Life happens. Despite the best laid plans, hours of preparation, and having the best there is on the case, life always manages to throw curve balls our way. If adequate preparation has been done, and high quality back up plans are in place, we are often able to overcome the smaller issues. However, there are those days when things do not go correctly, and it seems that everything you touch goes from bad to worse. These are the moments in which our character is truly revealed.

Character-is-revealed-when-pressure-is-applied

Unfortunately, as soon as some people experience a couple of challenging situations, they psychologically convince themselves that they cannot turn things around, and they start flying the white flag. There are others who continue striving to find a solution while blaming everyone else for the problem, and cursing about how it’s always them that has all the bad luck. Then there are those special people who despite the hurdles they face, they own the task at hand and do what is needed to get to where they need to be.

Today, we are going to look at some ways in which businesses rely on their employees to go above and beyond the call of duty to overcome issues that stand in their way. No matter what industry you are involved in, mistakes are inevitable, so you might as well embrace them and turn them into something positive!

Apologize – Show that you care about what happened and let those involved know that sorryyou are sorry for what happened.

Communication – When things aren’t going well, it’s definitely time to share the problem, rather than burying your head in the sand. There is often the feeling of failure and the fear that you are going to be dressed down for the way that you handled things, but if you are up front and honest it often diffuses the situation and makes others aware that you are in need of support. It is also a great way to develop trust in a relationship as you are not trying to hide things. A recent example of this was when a service provider was due to call me but completely forgot. Instead of creating some bogus story he immediately apologized, took responsibility, and said that he had just forgotten. You might not think that this is a great way to grow your business, but the honesty and this genuine approach sold me on what a relationship would look like with this company.

Owning it – We have all been there. As a kid you were sat in a classroom and the class clown decides that now is a good time to play a prank. The teacher is upset and demands that the perpetrator make themselves known. They keep quiet and the entire class is punished for one person’s misbehavior. Immaturity frequently plays a part in the behavior of people in these situations, but the culprit is almost guaranteed to be found out. Frequently it’s due to one of their peers sharing the information with the teacher as they are not prepared to suffer the consequences of someone else’s poor decision. When this information surfaces, the child in question is now likely to be reprimanded in a greater way than before for the time they wasted. Admit that you made the mistake before someone comes to you knowing that you are responsible.

Approach – Most people see making mistakes as a big negative that should be avoided at all costs. However, this frequently isn’t the case, as most mistakes are just small steps along a bigger journey and in the end they are essentially irrelevant. Everest is the world’s highest peak and many people over time have attempted to make it to the summit. In total, 29,029 feet above sea level in the Himalayas. More than 290 people have lost their life while attempting to scale Everest. There was obviously the challenge involved in the climb, the reward of becoming one of the few to make it to the summit, the journey and obstacles along the way, the dedication and determination involved in preparing for the climb, and the opportunity to prove people wrong who doubted your abilities. These 290+ people all had their reasons, and going into the adventure knew that there was a huge amount of risk involved. However, they went for it in search of the great reward. Even though Everest took their life, I believe many of these courageous adventurers wouldn’t view this as a mistake as they died doing something that they were truly passionate about.

Progress – If you are afraid of making mistakes, then the chances are you won’t get out of your comfort zone, and your life and/ or career will become stagnant. Most of the most famous and successful people of all time are those who took risks, made huge mistakes, but took the knowledge gained from them to catapult them to success.

Keep things in perspective – It can be difficult to maintain a sense of perspective when perspectiveyou’re upset with yourself, but try to make sure your emotional response is proportional to the mistake that you made. Making an error at work typically is not a life-or-death situation, unless you are a surgeon, a Nascar driver, or a pilot, and most mistakes can be resolved quickly. So you forgot to include an attachment, you accidentally included someone on an email that shouldn’t have been there , you were late for a presentation, or included a typo in an important report. You’re still alive. No one was mortally wounded. On the freeway of life, this is a parking ticket, not a multiple car pile-up.

Create a safety net/ build up credit – The best way to earn people’s trust and admiration is to consistently deliver great work and go above and beyond what is expected. Do this, and occasional bouts of forgetfulness or slip-ups here and there are likely to be quickly forgiven and forgotten.

Learn – one of the most important pieces involved in this whole process. Reflect on what you did, or did not do, and look for ways in which you can prevent, or significantly reduce the chance of this happening again in the future. Look at lessons learned, learnalternative strategies, and how you can turn something negative into something extremely positive.

The best way to earn people’s trust and admiration is to consistently deliver great work. Period. Do that, and occasional bouts of forgetfulness or slip-ups here and there are likely to be quickly forgiven—and forgotten.

Make up for it – We can all say that we are sorry and regret making the mistake, but the key way to bounce back is to make up for it with your actions. Were you the one who forgot to add a crucial document that lead to your company losing a business opportunity? Were you responsible for failing to complete your part of a group project on time? Was it your poor follow up and lack of communication that lost your company a client? In this day and age, these things happen all the time. They are part and parcel of today’s world, and unfortunately no one is immune to them. If you are the one that drops the ball, this is a great opportunity to strengthen the relationship by going above and beyond to wow the other people involved. If you are involved in losing

If you ask most people to think back in their life about mistakes that they made, most people will give you an answer about something that they didn’t do, rather than an issue that arose from something that they did do. This fear and worry is something that controls so many people’s emotions and unfortunately can prevent them from truly making the most of the opportunities that are available to them.

The next time you have worries about making a mistake, step back and think about what the worst thing that could happen is. Often it’s nothing like as bad as you initially thought! Go for it, take that chance, try that new idea at work, share that business idea with your colleagues and as the famous Nike slogan goes, “Just Do It”. If it does turn out to be a mistake with some negative aspects, follow the ideas above and turn it into something positive. Embrace risk and mistakes and see them as opportunities that will help you to progress.

Bonus tip: When you next find yourself in a job interview and are asked about examples of great things that you have done. It definitely wouldn’t be a bad thing to discuss something negative that you managed to turn around with your diligence and problem solving capabilities.

Until next time Expect The Exceptional in everything that you do.

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Own it

Last week I wrote about the importance of taking ownership of mistakes.  The very next night I experienced first hand what this looks like and felt compelled to share the story here.  My mom and I were in the mood for margaritas, so despite previous experiences that weren’t so hot, we loaded the family up and headed to the local Jose Peppers for some yummy queso and 2 for $8 margaritas.  Margarita.0.0There was a pretty long wait, but we were finally seated and our server came over to take our drink orders.  He started by informing my mom that they carry Pepsi products.  She told him she was more interested in the “margarita products” to which he responded, “If you would have let me finish my sentence, I would have gotten to that.”  Ok.  Not off to the best start, but we are patient people and decided to let this rude comment slide.  But for the next half hour or so, more and more things were happening.  None of us received waters, despite our server making a big deal that “anyone who orders alcoholic beverages automatically gets waters, so don’t bother ordering them.”  Our boys were so thirsty and we had to ask a different server to bring their waters!  It was such a busy night, and as a former server, I completely understand when you are running all over the place taking care of all of your tables and sometimes forget about drinks.  But our server was never running, or even walking fast; on the contrary, he was walking so slow and it seemed he only had our table and one other so he wasn’t that busy.  In fact, at one point when we were ready to order more drinks, he sauntered to the table next to ours to pick up the ticket and check out what tip was left, but didn’t even glance our direction to make sure we were ok.  My food arrived before anyone else’s, which is fine, but after 10 minutes when I was still the only one with food, we were getting a little frustrated.  What pushed us over the edge was when our server brought our check before the food! We finally decided to speak to the manager and let him know what had been happening.  He did not seem that concerned while my husband was speaking to him, so we figured it was a lost cause and we would just not return to the restaurant.  However, within about 3 minutes, everything changed.  The manager returned to the table and introduced us to a new server.  The young man (who we had noticed was already pretty busy) truly did an amazing job of making the remainder of our experience pleasant.  With the help of the manager, he got all of our food out, drinks ordered and delivered, all with a positive attitude and pleasant demeanor, despite the pressure he was under from all of his other tables.  We were so impressed with the way the situation was handled, and will definitely return again soon!

This is such a perfect example of taking ownership of a negative situation.  Rather than simply saying “I’ll talk to him” and giving us a free dessert (which they did anyway, by the way!), we were given a new server and the opportunity to change our experience from negative to positive.  They could have treated us like we were wrong to expect more on such a busy night, but instead they treated us like we deserved to have a great meal and conversation beyond complaining about our server.

Negative situations do not have to define your business; by taking control of the situation and turning it into a positive, you can create customers and evangelists for life!

Taking Ownership

Recently, I ordered some headbands on Amazon.  As my hairstyle of choice has been ponytail lately, and I occasionally like to be active, I thought some nice headbands to hold my hair back, as well as collect sweat if I’m doing something particularly strenuous, would be a nice item to have.  I read the reviews on Amazon, as I always do, and ended up choosing this particular brand because of the mostly 5 star reviews; the only low star reviews were about how tight they are, and my head isn’t huge, so I thought this would not affect me at all.  Upon receiving them, I realized I probably should have paid a little bit more attention to those negative reviews!  The bands were so tight that they slipped right off the back of my head after wearing them for only a few minutes.  I even tried using clips to keep them in place, but this did not work either.  So I packaged them up to return them, and also left an honest review of my experience on Amazon.  The next day I had an email from the headband company.  I hoped that they were informing me that they had made changes in production, or had a different option I could try, but it was nothing like that.  They said they saw my review on Amazon and my plans to return the headbands and they offered to refund half my money, as well as let me keep the headbands.  They worded it as though they were looking out for me, as Amazon would make me pay shipping for the return and they were here to save me the hassle of returns!  I declined, however, as I knewbuying-stars that Amazon would cover the shipping and I would just end up throwing the bands in the trash if I kept them.  They responded that they would look into offering me a full refund, if only I would “consider the review” I left. I asked them to clarify, and basically, they said they will give me my money back if I will change my review.  What?  That certainly should not be how reviews work.  I purchased these headbands based upon positive reviews; were they all paid for?
I contacted Amazon and they said they would “investigate” as this is against their policies.

This long, drawn-out situation was over HEADBANDS.  The company could not even take ownership of a faulty product as small as a headband.  So what about companies that are hired to do much, much bigger things, like build a house?  Or rollout new display cases over hundreds of stores?  Can you imagine the nightmare you would be in if that company acted like the headband company?  “Sorry we sealed a raccoon into your roof.  We’re going to leave it there, but would you consider giving us a positive review anyway?”   Hiring a company to take on a big project can be a stressful ordeal.  You need to consider quality, cost and time and if you’re like me, you will also pore over online reviews for hours.  The last thing you want is to invest a ton of money into a project only to have a mediocre finished project, or worse, a project that is not finished at all.

But mistakes happen; the people working for you are only human, after all.  The important thing is that they take responsibility for any mistakes that are made, take ownership of the originally agreed upon cost of services, and do their very best to make sure you are completely happy at the end of the day.

I’m sure everyone has a story about a project gone bad, either for your home or business.  From projects that take months too long, to end results that are dangerous for the home or business owner, it’s always a gamble when you begin working with a company who you have never worked with before.  Thanks to the wide world of the internet, we are lucky enough to be able to research the heck out of a company before hiring them on.  If you are thinking of hiring a new project management or facility maintenance company, Royal Services actually encourages potential clients to speak with current partners about their experiences.  They are so confident in the work that they do and the high-quality service they provide,  they know you will be impressed with the feedback you receive.   Royal Services has five key pillars that they stand by, the first of which is Ownership.

Assume accountability for completion of all steps and ensure the best outcome for our clients through planning and execution.

As a business owner, you know the risks involved in a big project.  Don’t hire a company who refuses to stand behind their finished product!  Find a company who is with you even after the job is complete, truly standing by everything that they do.

Different is not bad

The earth is made up of over seven billion distinct individuals.  Everyone has their own traits; some are positive, which can put them ahead of others, and some are negative, and these flaws ensure that no one is perfect.  No two individuals are the same, and this is how it has been since the dawn of time. So why does it seem difficult for some to accept those who are different?

Image result for accepting differences

The other day, I completed a questionnaire to obtain my DISC profile. I have done this before for different work requirements, and it always amazes me how these seemingly arbitrary questions somehow give such an accurate portrayal of my personality and work habits.   There are things that I do better than others, things that I need to work on, and flaws that I would love to change, but at the end of the day need to find a way to embrace as they are a result of the way my brain is wired.  For example, I have never been a neat and tidy person, however I very much like and appreciate and neat and tidy environment; it makes for a more productive day with less distractions, and a generally happier demeanor.  So where is the disconnect?  It seems simple enough – I like it tidy, so I should keep it tidy.  But for some reason, it has never been this way.  I do try, but ultimately there are other things that take my attention away and the goal of straightening up always gets put on the back burner.  So when someone with a completely different brain and personality notices this, they might scoff and boil it down to laziness.  But it really is just a different brain make-up.  I’m not going to get into the science of our brains, as interesting as it is, however I would like to offer a few suggestions for those who work with someone with traits different from your own.  It may seem impossible for the two of you to accomplish anything together, but it might not be.

  1. Take the DISC profile – have your office mates take the profile then share your results as a group.  It might be very eye-opening to realize that the person who you thought was snubbing you every morning at the coffee pot is really just extremely introverted and shy.
  2. Remember no one is perfect – you might be tempted to write someone off because of a trait that you view as a flaw; but maybe instead of a flaw, it’s just different from how you operate.  This doesn’t necessarily make it bad.  And even if it is something that could use some work, remember that you are not perfect either.  Try to be more understanding of others and you’ll probably find that your frustration levels will lessen.
  3. Look at the positive – for every bad trait, there is bound to be a good one.  Try and focus on that next time you start to get fed up with a coworker.  Maybe it seems as though they take far too long to accomplish a task; but possibly it takes a little longer because they have been busy lending a helping hand to others.  Or who knows, maybe they are just spending all of their time on elaborate pranks for the amusement of others.  Also a good thing.Jim's pranks on Dwight:
    Whatever differences you may have, if you look hard enough you should be able to find an admirable quality in everyone around you.  Find a way to embrace the differences in others, and remember that different is not bad!  We can learn from those who are different and work to improve ourselves in the process.

Customer service in difficult situations

On several previous blogs I have discussed the importance of customer service and how the people in your front line can make or break your business. Customer service is one of those ideas that is frequently thrown around, but unfortunately not taken seriously when it comes to implementation. Despite the exceptional service that we received on our recent journey to visit my in-laws, unfortunately it is typically the not so good experiences that we hear about when it comes to customer service.

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Can you afford to lose your customers? 

On our recent trip to The UK and Ireland, we found ourselves in many situations where we interacted with the front of house staff, whether it be the server in a restaurant, the cashier at a store, the barman at the local pub, or the flight attendants on our gruelling 8 hour Transatlantic flight.

We were blown away by how incredible the Virgin Atlantic staff were from start to finish. From checking in at O’Hare in Chicago, to recovering our lost luggage, the entire team were exceptional. I could go on all day about how incredible these individuals were but for the sake of time I have whittled things down to a list of 5 moments to share with you.

  1. USA to England check in – This was our first time traveling as a family of four with both of our boys with us. To spice things up a little we also decided to include my parents in the adventure! Checking in with 4 adults, 2 infants, and all of luggage and car seats was never going to be an enjoyable experience but it was pretty close. From interacting with our two boys to wrapping our two car seats in protective packaging and walking them over to the oversized luggage belt, the staff were superb and got our trip off to the best possible start.
  2. Inflight experience – The crew immediately recognized that travelling with young children is far from easy, and were sure to let us know that they were available to help with anything that we needed. Over the course of the flight we made numerous requests for milk, snacks, glasses of water, and even warm towels to help clean our babies up. The flight attendants were attentive and went out of their way to treat every passenger individually and make sure that they were comfortable.
  3. Check in at Heathrow for the return flight – We had a very early start (4:30am) in Dublin and when our flight landed at Heathrow we knew we were going to be cutting it close with connecting to our transatlantic flight. After being transferred to another terminal, going through security and the other formalities, and getting ready to head for the gate we knew that there was a chance that we wouldn’t make the flight. To make matters worse my mother’s bag was selected for an extra security check (due to the presence of a mini bottle of vodka in the side pocket 🙂 ) which meant we lost even more time. Throughout this series of events the Virgin staff stood by our side and communicated with their team to make sure the plane didn’t leave without us. These moments were very stressful as we weren’t really interested in spending 24 hours in an airport with two infants, but the staff diffused the situation and delivered.
  4. Inflight experience – Due to the delays mentioned above my mother and husband had to run to make the flight, and immediately after boarding they were presented with ice cold water and the assurance that they would be helped with anything that they needed. Every member of the staff clearly loves what they do and this happiness and excitement was contagious and visible for all to see. The ladies and gentlemen that took care of us and the rest of the passengers that day worked tirelessly to make sure their customers were happy and had a pleasant experience.
  5. Retrieval of lost luggage and owning mistakes – Upon arriving in Chicago we found that our 2 car seats unfortunately had not been pulled from our first flight of the day. We went to the helpdesk where two young gentlemen got things taken care of and put our minds at rest. We submitted the necessary claim form and were provided with directions to the nearest Target so that we could purchase replacements which would later be reimbursed by Virgin. We arrived home in the early hours of Tuesday August 16th, the seats arrived on the 19th and we were reimbursed on the 22nd. Exceptionally quick turnaround executed by knowledgeable and passionate team members who took complete responsibility of the situation.

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We know you have a choice of airlines when you fly, and we want to thank you for flying with us” is the cheesy line that most flight attendants regurgitate at the end of each flight. After our experience with Virgin, we know that we made the right choice and will continue to use them for our future travel needs. If you haven’t previously travelled with Virgin Atlantic and they fly a route that you will be travelling, you should check them out, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Until next time, Happy Travelling 🙂

Con Artists at work in Dublin, Ireland

One of the things that we are most proud about at Royal Services is our honesty and transparency. In an industry where many of our competitors have a used car salesman reputation, it is obviously a big struggle to get potential partners to lower their defenses. However, since 1993 we have treated our clients with the honesty and respect that they deserve. We are a family owned company and we live by family values. If we make mistakes we own them. If we can’t do something we communicate with our clients and try to find an alternative solution. When we bid a project, we do it as thoroughly and accurately as possible and provide our client with what the job will take. Unfortunately many of our competitors will make promises ahead of time and provide you with low prices, and then take advantage of you once they have got you in the door. 

royal services in dubin

This week’s article looks at a dining experience that we had on our recent trip to the Emerald Isle. We had purchased the Cityscape “hop on, hop off” bus pass, and after an incredible 2 and a half hour tour of the city, the driver and tour guide suggested that we visit Murray’s bar and restaurant. He told us that it was one of the most popular venues in town and that we would be able to get a “2 for 1” deal on meals by showing our bus tickets. We thought that this sounded like a good idea so got off of the bus at the nearest stop to Murray’s and made the short walk along O’Connell street.

We arrive and are immediately handed a piece of paper with a very simple menu on it. It looks like something that a 4th grader put together for a simple project using the most basic of online templates. There was a good variety of meals available with all meals apart from starters priced at 12.95. We could see the “traditional menus” under the hostess stand so assumed that we had by default been handed the “Cityscape menu”. The moral of this story is to not assume 🙂

We spent a few minutes reviewing the options available to us and then placed our order. It took some time to get our order but once everything had arrived we all tucked in and enjoyed our evening meal. We sat and chatted for a while as our 2 year old “flirted” with the waitress and then the screaming emanating from our 10 month old’s mouth signalled that it was time to head back to the hotel.

Temple Bar Dublin and Royal Services

We ask for the bill and all of a sudden the barman goes into hiding and has one of his colleagues bring the check to us. Upon quick review we noticed that we had been charged f0r all 6 meals, and that the discount had not been applied. We questioned the barman who informed us that we should have told him ahead of time that we were looking for the discounted menu. Obviously the fact that our tour brochure and bus tickets were clearly visible on the table didn’t mean anything. The barman showed little signs of wanting to solve the problem and provide us with what had been promised, so we had to take it to the next level. In more ways than one 🙂

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

We immediately headed upstairs to find the manager and get things rectified. As we were waiting to speak to the manager, the barman comes flying up the stairs thinking that we had done a runner. I imagine that there have been several customers that have done this in the past, but two wrongs don’t make a right. To his credit, the manager acknowledged the original deal and reduced our bill accordingly. He then mentioned about the need to make things clearer and let patrons know ahead of time what the deal was, but a quick search on Google shows that this scam has been going on for some time with several visitors expressing their disappointment with this “deal”.

This tactic might earn some short term business as a large percentage of patrons are tourists who will never be in Dublin again. There are also many non English speaking visitors from all corners of the world who wouldn’t be able to understand what is going on and how they are being mislead. However, it doesn’t matter who your customer is, you need to do the right thing and take care of them if you want to be successful in the long term. This experience felt similar to a company shortchanging a customer because she was blind and couldn’t see what was going on.

the emerald isle and royal services

This left a very bitter taste in our mouths, and even though the food was very good, the dishonesty and trickery from this establishment means that this is not a venue that we would recommend. After all of the talk that you hear about how beautiful Dublin is and how welcoming the people are, we left with different feelings after our encounters. This company did themselves no favors here, and I do not think that their future is going to be anything special. In anything that I do I need to be able to look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day knowing that I have done the right thing. I might not make as much money, or drive the same car as my highly successful neighbor, but I can live with a clear conscience.

Where have you felt hard done by? Which establishments have lied to get you in the door? Who made you feel like you had been stolen from? Let us know in the comments section below.

As the Irish say, Schloncha, and happy travelling 🙂

Guiness pint and Royal Services

The danger of casting judgement

As a retail owner, manager or employee you get to know the people who frequent your store, and the type of people you can expect to shop there.  If you work at Forever 21, you would not expect to see an elderly man browsing your racks, just like it would be surprising to see a teenage girl shopping at Brooks Brothers.  But is that to say they can’t, or should be looked upon differently for being there?  Maybe the man is looking for a shirt for his granddaughter; maybe the girl is shopping for a tie for Father’s Day.  I bring this up because when I occasionally have to make a visit to an atypical store, I sometimes feel uncomfortable upon walking in, but always appreciate when I am treated as though I belong there and am given the help that I so obviously need.  I recently painted a few rooms in my home and although I considered shopping for paint at a big box store, I remembered the last couple of times I looked for paint there and the negative experiences I had.  Somehow in the 21st century, the employees who “helped” me still acted as though a woman does not belong in a hardware store.  I was treated as though I were someone with silly requests, and they were too bored to bother fulfilling them.  So instead, I made the decision to pay a little extra and go to my favorite hardware store, Westlake Ace Hardware.  When I go into this store, I am immediately greeted and treated with respect.  When I select my paint color and inevitably have to return for adjustments to be made, the associates working with me have always been patient and made it very clear that they will go back as many times as I need to get the perfect color.  On the rare occasion I need to visit a hardware store for reasons other than painting or planting, I know that there is no way I will be left searching up and down aisles for what I need, which is what seems to happen at bigger stores.  At Ace, someone always finds me and offers to help.  When I leave, I feel satisfied and usually always have a smile on my face due to the friendly nature of the employees.

Next time you are at your retail location and someone walks in who doesn’t look like they belong, don’t let this happen to you:

Instead, treat everyone who walks in the door with respect, you never know how you can impact their day!