Every step taken away from the true path eventually comes round to harm a person. This may sound like a Sunday sermon but this principle holds true even in public relations. Many people make excuses when things go wrong instead of learning from their mistakes. Playing the blame game only takes everyone a step back. It takes courage and honesty to admit to a mistake. This accelerates progress. Mistakes should not be viewed as failure but rather a platform to learn.
PR practitioners need to realize that wrong results are brought about by wrong choices. ‘I ran late because traffic was bad today.’ Why did you not leave earlier to compensate for unforeseeable traffic situations? If you’re on time, you’re late. But that is an entirely different post.
For many Kenyans, African timing is the norm where running late could mean by an hour or a couple of months. When assigning a deadline to any PR plan, it is important to keep this in mind to avoid the excuse ‘They took long to approve.’ Did you let the client know how much time they had? Did you call to push them to act faster? Was there an alternative? Not acknowledging this in your PR plan is a choice that can and often does lead to greater harm not just for the company but the individual as well. These ‘small’ mistakes affect both credibility and reliability.
When something goes wrong, it is important to look back and question the choices taken that led to this eventuality. Poor customer service is choice, and a wrong one at that. It could be the employee is not properly empowered or is deriving their decisions from emotional limitations. In both these case the problem has been pushed away and thus sacrificing the betterment of customer service.
PR professionals should therefore avoid the blame game or entirely evading an issue and accept their mistakes. This way others can learn and take steps to better the area of concern. This is especially true in customer service because as the saying goes, ‘The customer is always right.’