When clients point out "service lapses" by their lawyers, we must know how to accept responsibility and apologize. Most of the time the client doesn't need an "analysis of the facts." They don't need us to "allocate responsibility." Rather, they want our empathy. They need us to see their side of the situation. And most importantly, they require us to "man-up."
Regularly taking the client's side is another way to develop long-term client loyalty. Heck, it is just the right thing to do. Make this a habit and clients will forgive our small foibles. Make this a habit and clients will become immune to competitive entreaties from the firm across the street.