Last week I sat in the lobby of a big company, as you know I spend a lot of time sitting in lobbies waiting for meetings, and I notice more than the average bear.

If I am ever sitting in your lobby please know I am taking everything in, as are many of your clients and customers. We notice if the dried flowers are dusty, or the real flowers are dead. We watch how you deal with others who come in, and if you are friendly to each other. While we are waiting we may see things that you never notice on your swift walk through. Maybe you should spend some time sitting in your lobby and catching anything that doesn’t present the image you want.

Anyway, back to the story. I’m sitting in the lobby and I start to read their mission statement. Yes, I am that person. I notice a spacing error and am a little surprised. So far working with this company has been an excellent experience, and they have been on top of all the small details.

On the way out of my meeting I mentioned the notice to the person I am working with. She thanks me, and says it will get fixed. I think no more of it. That same afternoon I get an email thanking me again, and showing me the action that has been taken to rectify the problem. My comment set off an immediate chain of events. It was taken seriously and acted on immediately. I was most impressed.

My view of this company was already good, or I wouldn’t have pointed out the mistake, and the way they dealt with it was absolutely in keeping with the way they have worked with me so far.

We all make mistakes, large and small. Some are never noticed by anyone, others are pointed out by customers or blasted all over social media. It’s not the mistakes that matter, it’s how they are dealt with.

When, as a customer or client we bother to give a company feedback, it means that in some way, we care. It should always be welcomed and acknowledged – and if it is a mistake should be rectified. If you don’t listen to your customers there are plenty of people who will, and will add their stories of dissatisfaction to the mix and before you know it, you are wondering what happened.

This was such a tiny mistake but the company handled so well, that they came out looking even better in my eyes. It showed me it was a very unusual event rather than the norm.

Own up to your mistakes, thank the person who points them out, and tell them what is being done to fix it. It’s much better than not caring.

And while you are reading this, grab a cup of coffee and go and sit in the place where your customers and clients wait. You want to see what they see.

This column was first published in The Daily Advertiser on Tuesday September 5th 2012 – all usual rights reserved and stuff