On a flight yesterday from Perth to Melbourne I requested headphones from two separate attendants. Both forgot. I fell asleep, missed my meal and then requested it upon waking – again forgotten.
One of the attendants who I had requested the headphones from saw me and profusely apologised for the neglect, stated a legitimate reason why she and the other girl had forgotten and promptly brought me the headphones. Five minutes later a complimentary cheese platter arrived.
We all make mistakes. That’s part of being human. But the larger mistake is when we try and cover up errors with excuses and do nothing to compensate.
Virgin Airlines get it right 99% of the time. This was the other 1% – a genuine human error. The authentic apology and the compensatory gift restored the disappointment.
We would do well to do the same in our businesses.