Nobody likes to make mistakes, but we all blow it once in a while.  Some mistakes are small, and some are major blunders.  Is it possible to leverage that blunder?  

Most companies will ignore or deny their mistakes, let alone major blunders, but if you approach it right, embracing the blunder can be a very healthy thing for your business, even profitable.  Let’s take a look at how you make the most out of a major blunder, and even create clients from it!

Below are the topics of discussion in this article. Feel free to click on any one of the following links to skip to that section.

Elegant Themes Owns Their Mistakes

When a company makes a mistake, it can be very costly.  Just ask Samsung.  In 2016, they released their flagship product, Samsung Note 7.  Unfortunately, they rushed it to market before doing extensive testing, and as a result, “some” devices would spontaneously catch on fire.  

Only after videos of the phones exploding in users hands, in their pockets, purses, and even on air plains , showed up on YouTube, did Samsung acknowledge that they had a problem on their hands.  So they did a recall, and replaced all Note 7 phones that had been returned.  But then the replacement phones started exploding! It turns out that the battery did not have enough “breathing room” in the case itself.

Because Samsung did not immediately own up to their design mistake, this became one of the most expensive product recall in history.  That mistake cost the Samsung $1 Billion dollars to recall the device.  It then cost an additional $16 Billion dollars in lost sales revenue.

I just love it when a company owns up to their mistakes.  Not so that I can say, “Yeah, stick it to the man!”.  On the contrary, I like it when they own their mistakes because it speaks volumes about the integrity of the company.

Below is the e-mail I received the other day from Elegant Themes.  In it, they take responsibility for a vulnerability that they found after doing an internal audit on their own code that “could allow low-level users, such as Authors, to use unfiltered HTML inside of post content when using the Divi Builder”.  Instead of hiding their ignoring or hiding their findings, they exposed them.

Take 60 seconds to read what they sent not only to all of their current subscribers, but to all users of Divi, even those who no longer are active subscribers.

Elegant Themes Security Update

Today our Divi, Extra and Divi Builder products were updated to improve overall security and to fix security issues identified by our team and an independent security researcher during a scheduled internal code audit. Updating these products to their latest versions will apply the patch, keeping your website secure.

The Problem
A privilege escalation vulnerability was discovered that could allow low level users, such as Authors, to use unfiltered HTML inside of post content when using the Divi Builder. Using such code in posts is typically reserved for admins.

Are You Affected?
The problems identified affect all websites using the Divi theme, Extra theme or the Divi Builder plugin. Specifically it affects these websites that also have open user registration or low level post authors.

How To Fix It
Updating your themes and plugins will patch the bugs and improve the security of your website. You can update your themes or plugin from within your WordPress dashboard, or you can download the latest versions from the members area and update them manually.

Has Your Account Expired?
We are making these updates available for free to all expired accounts. Even if your account has expired, you can still update your themes or plugins to their latest versions via your WordPress dashboard. Expired accounts will not be restricted from updating.

We Are Here To Help
Security is extremely important to us and we take a number of precautions to help mitigate issues like this. We will continue to work hard to prevent similar mistakes from happening in the future.

If you have any questions or concerns, please know that our virtual doors are always open. If there is anything we can do to help, just let us know.

Best Wishes,
Nick Roach

Integrity Builds Credibility

It would have been easy for Elegant Themes to have swept this under the rug.  There really was nothing that “forced” them to acknowledge their mistake, (other than integrity).  They could have simply addressed this issue with each user that brought it to their attention, and no-one would have been the wiser.  But that’s not how Elegant Themes rolls.

Because Elegant Themes has demonstrated integrity, they gain an incredible amount of credibility.

They are not a “could have”, “should have”, “dont’ have to”, company.  They are a “we own our mistakes“ company.  They are a “we take responsibility for our actions” company.

You would be wise to follow their example.  It really does work.  Ask yourself this question, do you have more respect for Elegant Themes having read the letter written by the CEO and founder, Nick Roach, or do you have less respect for them having publicly owned up to their mistake?

Going Above and Beyond Develops One’s Reputation

When a company like Elegant Theme openly owns up to their mistakes, they build credibility with their customer base.  When that company takes ownership of their mistakes for people who are currently no longer their customers, that sends their reputation through the stratosphere.

This also applies to you as a web-designer.  Like Elegant Themes, when you go above and beyond, taking ownership of issues that effect the clients that you have served in the past, your reputation will also grow by leaps and bounds.  Word gets around, and your reputation is directly related to your income.

Your Sacrifice Earns the Trust of Your Client

Taking ownership of client issues to the point where it costs you time and money builds trust and commitment.   When you do this, it tells your client that you are not just out for the money.  It tells your client that you really do care about their well-being.  This is what Elegant Theme just did.

When you have tangibly communicated how committed you are to your client, you can rest assured that they will tell their friends, should their friends have a need of your services.  There is no better advertisement than word-of-mouth.  People love to tell their friends what a great deal they got, or what a great experience they have had.  Here’s a big secret: People like to recommend great services because it makes them look good.

Think Beyond the Quick Buck

Elegant Themes definitely thinks long-term.  If they didn’t think long-term, they never would have sent this e-mail to their customer base, let alone to their old customers who no longer are paying them anything.  They would have fixed the issue hoping that nobody noticed.

Instead, they have owned the issue.  Among other reasons, they owned this issue because they intend on being in business for years to come.

When meeting a client, don’t think of them as a one-time money-making opportunity.  Think 3 years down the road.  You need to see each website you build as an opportunity to invest in your client.  When you do, you will find that the one website you built, will turn into 5 more clients.  I’ve written on this topic in an article I wrote entitled, “Why every website should offer an e-mail opt-in”. 

Related Questions

How do I get clients?
Even today in the world of tech, the best way to get clients is by word of mouth. Remember, you don’t just take any client, you have to interview them too. When you get references by word of mouth, it makes the “interviewing process” a lot easier.

How to learn from your mistakes
Some “mistakes” are MAJOR blunders. Some might even cost you your job. What you learn from this mistakes will determine your future. When you blow it, write down a list of every lesson you can learn and then wise up and learn from that mistake.