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Apologies: how to give them properly

Mistakes happen. Poor service creeps into any experience. Expectations are not met.

These are certainties we cannot avoid. But they are embarrassing, so we may try to minimize them.

Worse, we may try to defend them or make excuses. (This is probably the fastest way to turn a simply annoyed customer into an angry one.)

So, what’s the secret to recovering from any mistake with grace and skill? Acknowledging and apologizing.

Really listen. When a customer approaches you with a problem, stop what you’re doing and listen. And ask clarifying questions to show that you are listening.
Thank sincerely. When thanking a customer for a complaint it shows appreciation and that you really care.
Apologize. A quick “I’m sorry” won’t cut it. Apologizing with patience and empathy shows the customer you hear them and understand their pain.
Solve. Now it’s time to make things right. Tell the customer, step-by-step, how you’re going to fix what went wrong. You may even want to consider throwing in something extra for their inconvenience.

Apologizing the right way not only diffuses the immediate problem but it also helps build a foundation for an even better long-term relationship. Good will that comes from an apology can turn into word-of-mouth advertising and increased loyalty.

Apologize early. Accept responsibility. And then prove you can do better going forward.

Have a great week.

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