The ultimate game in professional American football is the Super Bowl. In this past year’s Super Bowl, James Bradberry of the Philadelphia Eagles was called for a penalty with less than two minutes to go in the game. The penalty gave the other team a first down; the other team was able to run the clock down until there was almost no time left, and then they kicked the winning field goal.
The penalty was one of those that, technically, was the correct call. Bradberry briefly grabbed the shirt of a wide receiver, and that’s a penalty. In a lot of games, in a lot of situations, that penalty is not called. But at the end of the most important game of the year, Bradberry made a mistake, and he was called on it.
In the lead up to this upcoming season, Bradberry was asked about this play. He said “A play’s going to happen. Good play. Bad play. You’ve got to move on to the next one.”
Ours is an Imperfect World
The working world that we live in – about customer experience, retaining clients, delivering good solid customer service – is an imperfect world.
And we are imperfect. Despite our best intentions, our best training, our best skills, and our reading of weekly customer service tips, we make mistakes.
Even though I’m someone who has run a management consulting firm focused exclusively on customer service, client retention, and customer experience for the last 25 years, I make customer service mistakes. I may make a mistake in how I respond, or maybe I don’t respond timely enough. Recently, I left someone off the list of invitees for a meeting to debrief on a research project. We make mistakes, and hopefully we apologize sincerely when we do.
Don’t Stay in the Negative
But like Bradberry, we need to move on. We can’t get consumed by the mistakes of the past, because then we are allowing ourselves to get mired in mediocrity and negativity. We need to acknowledge our mistakes, learn from them, and move on.
There will always be opportunities to do better, to improve, to take care of our customers.
So, the next time one of us imperfect people makes a mistake, let’s make sure we’re able to move on.