I had an interesting experience this morning- I had scheduled an appointment with national home cleaning service to come out and give me an estimate for cleaning my house. (Yes!!!). Anyway, the appointment was set for 10:30am. I received a call from the owner of the company at 9:45am, and in her phone message, she cancelled my appointment, citing a mistake in her office as far as scheduling.
Now, while I was at first a bit annoyed, I actually respected- very much- the way this business owner handled the mistake. First, she took full responsibility for the mistake, and gave me a brief explanation of why it occurred. She also indicated that this mistake had been communicated to the appointment scheduler, and that it was not likely to happen again. She was honest about the mistake, took responsibility for it, and apologized for the confusion.
While I was inconvenienced by this change, I was left with an overall favorable impression of this company. It was also a good reminder: if someone makes a mistake in your back office, be sure to claim full responsibility and take active steps to make it right.
This leaves a positive impression about your company, and makes it likely that you will be able to retain your prospect.