Photo Courtesy of Pixaby

“I am sorry.  Will you accept my apology and allow me to make it right?”.  When said in a heartfelt manner, those 15 words are impactful and priceless.  I cannot tell you how difficult it is for many people to utter that phrase even in a role play situation.

On the other hand, if you offer an insincere apology, count on it backfiring because it will make the customer angrier…then you’ll really have problems on your hands.

Take responsibility for the problem.  Be specific about the steps you will take to resolve the situation—it demonstrates your integrity and that of the company.

When apologizing face-to-face and on the telephone, make sure the mood in you voice is appropriate and that you place emphasis on the right words at the right time…it is possible to do this even in “chat” conversations on the internet,

Never say, “if we caused you any inconvenience…”.  This sends a strong message that the fault may not be yours and that the customer could have done something different not to be inconvenienced.  Of course there was an inconvenience which is probably what precipitated the complaint.  Benjamin Franklin said, “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”.

Be gracious.  Try saying something like, “We are very sorry that the cable technician arrived two hours later than planned causing you to be late for work.  Operating on a tight schedule myself, I, too would be very unhappy about my day being derailed”.   This statement acknowledges that you understand the facts and empathize with them.  It is the opening statement to quell any potential verbal storm that may arise.

Step into the world of unconventionalism (no, that is not a word but it fits for the point I am making), and craft a genuine apology letter, note, tweet, post, to let your customer, client, patient, passenger, volunteer, employee, manager know that you made a faux pas and desire to “make it right”.  Noted author, Margaret Lee Runbeck said, “Apology is lovely perfume; it can transform the clumsiest moment into a gracious gift”.

It takes courage to walk on the road less traveled.  It all boils down to giving customers amazing experiences, even when a genuine apology is a necessity.

Make it a great day!

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