Top tips is a weekly column where we highlight what’s trending in the tech world today and list ways to explore these trends. This week, we’ll discuss ways in which tech companies can revive themselves after making a mistake. 

As humans, we are bound to make mistakes, and mistakes are forgiven. But when it comes to the cutthroat business of tech, mistakes are hardly forgiven, and the sad part is that mostly it is hard to recover from them.

Let’s take the case of Nintendo virtual boy failure. Nintendo tried to bring virtual reality to everyone with the Virtual Boy. Released in 1995, this tabletop gaming console featured 3D graphics. However, it was not successful and was discontinued just a year later. Nintendo’s VR failure was mainly due to the console’s high price, limited game selection, and black-and-white display.

But companies have managed to rise above their mistakes, and that’s what we are looking at this week. Initially, it may seem like the mistake is irreparable. But that’s not the case. There are ways in which tech companies can avoid biting the dust, no matter how terrible the error might be. Let’s see how.

1. Accept your mistake

Yes, you read that right. Acceptance. What most businesses might think when their dirty laundry is aired is to deny it first. But contrary to popular belief, accepting the mistake, whether it’s a data breach or a product bug, could be the first step to rectifying it.

Own the mistake and take responsibility. This will foster trust among your customers. Blaming others and making excuses will only make you seem untrustworthy and cause customers not to choose your brand from the competitors.

Let’s look back at Apple’s Antennagate–the problem with iPhone 4’s reception, when Steve Jobs spoke to a gathering of approximately 90 journalists and bloggers and admitted the issue with iPhone 4’s reception, “We’re not perfect. We know that. You know that. And [our] phones aren’t perfect either.” Further, Jobs added,”We’ve been working our butts off to understand what the real problems are.” 

What we can learn from this is that, when something goes wrong, it’s vital to own the mistake and take accountability for what happened on your side. This won’t leave the customers blindsided. Customers appreciate transparency from a brand; it often makes them feel more connected to it.

2. Make up for it

Understand what went wrong and take immediate action to make things right. Don’t slack off and let things get worse. Inaction will only make your customers think that this is not a one-time occurrence. Taking proactive steps to address the blunder you made will increase customer trust and loyalty. Some ways to make it up to customers include offering a discount or a refund.

We can again look at what Steve Jobs did during Apple’s Antennagate incident. To resolve issues concerning the iPhone 4’s reception, Jobs provided customers with the option of receiving a complimentary case. Those who had previously purchased a case were also eligible for a refund of the purchase price.

This demonstrated that the company was trying to make things right and show that they care about their customers. Following their example will help your business bounce back stronger.

3. Tell your customers how you are fixing the issue

So, you have made a mistake. But how are you fixing it? As important, do your customers know about your efforts? It’s one thing to fix the issue, but it’s another thing for customers to be aware of it.

Regularly update your customers on how you are trying to fix the mistake you made and explain how you are making sure it doesn’t happen again. Keeping customers aware of your progress helps them look past your mistake and regain trust in your brand.

During the Apple’s Antennagate issue, Jobs announced publicly that the company was addressing issues with the iPhone 4’s proximity sensor and revealed that the company had invested $100 million in creating a state-of-the-art antenna testing facility.

This is exactly what the customer needs to know. Customers want companies to care about them and how they feel about their product or service. No customer will buy from a brand that doesn’t care about them. Today, customers would rather buy from a brand that feels authentic than invest in a brand that seems artificial.

Final thoughts

Sure, everyone makes mistakes. What matters is how you rise above them. Do not panic and lose hope when you make a mistake. Instead, take active measures to fix your mistake and communicate these efforts to your customers. Many tech companies have made significant mistakes but have managed to stay on top despite their flaws. You can do the same, so keep at it!