After the Fail: How to Rebuild Customers Trust

The way companies communicate with their customers directly correlates to how they are perceived in the public eye. In other words, to be successful in selling their products and services, the target audience needs to trust that investing their hard-earned money into their solutions will yield great results and resolve their problems.

But what happens when that trust is breached?

You see, mistakes happen all the time – after all, we’re all human. When a customer is disappointed, this elicits an emotional response, the effects of which can be felt for a prolonged time. The next time that very same individual faces a buying decision, these memories will come to mind, and they may very well decide in favor of your competition.

43% of Customers Blacklist Brands That Fail to Meet Their Expectations

It’s true. According to a 2019 survey conducted by Oracle and Jeanne Bliss that involves more than 1000 US-based adults, this is exactly what will happen. Make a single mistake, and it can be game over for you and your company. However, it doesn’t have to be… if you act swiftly enough, that is.

A great example of this is Pepsi’s controversial ad they pulled in 2017. According to their customers, it had trivialized the Black Lives Matter movement. The company demonstrated its willingness to listen to their customers, and it helped. The memory of the incident, however, will not be wiped away in its entirety.

Things of this nature could lead to customers flocking to the competition, unwilling to give testimonials, be reluctant to display the company’s logo on their websites, etc.

Making Amends Can Lead to Something Even More Beautiful

All that is broken does not need to stay broken. Imagine a shattered Japanese Kintsugi vase; mending it in a thoughtful and careful way can transform it into something even more beautiful. Although it won’t happen overnight, it certainly is possible. After all, your customers want to feel heard, and it’s your job to make that happen.

Either way, the road to reparation will not be easy, but with enough authenticity, empathy, transparency, and trustworthiness, you can make it to the other side. Below, you’ll find what we believe are the optimal steps to get you there:

1. Apologize

The first step is to admit you’re at fault and let it be known that your team is doing everything in its power to resolve the issue. An apology needs to be heartfelt, honest, and authentic – the kind that shows humility. Don’t try to minimize the blunder; instead, take ownership of it, address it, and move on.

2. Listen to Your Audience

When mistakes are made, you should put your customers before your own interests. Lend an empathetic ear to their concerns and try to come up with a move designed to address them. Whenever in doubt, there is no shame in asking them directly. Remember that customers value and cherish those who listen!

3. Learn From the Criticism

No one wants to be on the receiving end of criticism, but guess what? The critics may be harsh, but they will tell you what’s on their mind – and do so honestly, without pulling their punches. This is a great learning opportunity to dissect their words, study them, and make sure that nothing similar ever happens again.


When it comes to matters like disillusionment and broken trust, things cannot be rushed. But if you take it step-by-step, you will position your company in a great light. In turn, your customers may be willing to give your products and services another go.