A few weeks ago a freelancer in TN purchased the Being a Starving Artist Sucks book off of the web site. After about a week of not receiving the book he emailed me and asked if I might be able to track the order down. After a few minutes I found that he had ordered the book and I just didn't receive a confirmation from Paypal (who is usually pretty reliable).
I of course would have sent the book had I received a notice from Paypal, but rather than making excuses for what happened I apologized for the mix up, told the freelancer that we'd have his book in the mail within the hour, and gave him a free copy of my Creative Freelancers Audio Success Series. I didn't make excuses here, I owned up to making the mistake and I immediately looked at what I needed to do to rectify the situation. And to his credit, the freelancer was kind enough to forgive the oversight and actually thanked me for my generosity.
So how's this applicable to your business?
Instead of making excuses I looked to make things right - and I earned a friend and a fan rather than a disgruntled customer. Think about this the next time things go wrong with - show your clients that you'll diligently work to make things right.
PS - I had a similar situation with B&H Camera out of New York. I'd ordered a fixed 50mm camera lens for a photo shoot I had later that week (it was critical that I got it in time). While the order came on time, these guys sent me the wrong order. I called up customer service and talked to one of the rudest people I'd ever met, the CSR wouldn't admit the mistake, in fact, he kept saying, "Hey let's not point fingers, it's really no one's fault - sometimes it just happens..."
After I pressed him to admit that his company made a mistake, he told me that he could easily rescind his "most generous" offer to overnight my correct order. Yep, the guy told me that he was doing me a favor by overnighting my correct order, and if he didn't like my tone he would cancel it and send it ground. What a jackass. It turns out he didn't send the order overnight, I didn't receive it for a few days - fortunately my friend Craig let me borrow his lens.
I'll never order from B&H again, even though they've got some great products. Whether you're a solopreneur or a large company, making excuses instead of making things right is never a good idea.