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Let Mistakes Lead Your Business to Be It’s Best… By Mark Lampkin

Have you ever had THAT experience with a business? Whether a dining, recreational or purely frivolous time by yourself, or with family/friends, and all is well until the employee with whom you are interacting seems to have the attitude. Or maybe they just made an honest, simple error.

Yet, instead of your receiving a sincere apology, maybe even a discount offered to appease you, you get nothing. Not a word that would just make it all better, right now. Just that look away; that look of “I’m not interested or trained to deal with this.”

In my 25 years of creating videos of special moments for hundreds of families, organizations and beautiful brides and proud grooms, I have had a few moments when I had to decide to either ‘fess up” to the problem I created, or look away…and say nothing, Hoping, that it will magically be ok…if they never notice.

One of those is memorable. It helped make me a better businessman.

After the intermission of a one-woman stage performance, I was unaware that I didn’t fully depress the record button on my video camera, and never recorded the second half of her program. Now, she’d spent money to rent the theater, bought snacks for the attendees, printed programs, etc. She had planned to make the DVD available for sale once I’d edited it to her liking.

I took the tape home to import into my editing computer. Tape 1 no problem. Great. Forty-five minutes later, I replace that tape with the second half of her show. And…I could not believe my eyes. There was nothing on the tape. I rewound it. It was already at the beginning…maybe something’s wrong with the tape deck. Is the TV monitor on-the-blink? Anything other than a blank tape would be just fine. But, it was a videographer’s worst nightmare. Nothing recorded during a live event.

Well, I had no choice but to contact the client, tell her the situation, and take my financial loss. I was truly devastated.

To my surprise, the client, a woman I had known for years as we’d both spent time as colleagues in the home health care service industry, was very kind and understanding. I invited her to my studio to review the first tape and to discuss how to resolve, yea replace what was lost. It was during our time reviewing that first half footage that she told me that she didn’t feel she’d given her best performance after intermission…and that we should reenact the second half.

Well…..sure. Why didn’t I think of that? Heaven is smiling down on me.

And that is what we did. She accessed the theater for no charge (I was offering to pay the rental fee), and we filmed her ENTIRE show; with no audience.

For now I believed in fairy tale endings. We edited the follow-up performance and she used that for her DVD. It was quite popular, and NO ONE ever knew that it was staged, recorded and produced with no audience.

The moral of this story is what I learned from that experience and has helped me ever since. On location filming, I now check every few minutes to ensure that I am recording my event; looking at the red record light, see the numbers increasing on the screen.

Never will I have that happen again.

And I know that a client will at least respect my honesty, and I retain my integrity by being honest and taking responsibility for my error. When you or one of your staff has “that” moment, make sure that your company policy, and your expectation is to be honest. Your paying customers will appreciate that even when you can’t go back and re-create a moment like I did.

But, you will NOT have a client who will never return because you were afraid to admit your mistake. That CAN lead you to having a better business.