To err is human, as the saying goes, and seeing as your company is run by humans there is a 100% chance that a mistake will be made at some point. This week.

Corporate ApologyWhether to apologize is an interesting discussion. Gut reaction is often to sweep a transgression aside and hope no one notices because apologies are difficult; they are embarrassing, uncomfortable, and leave you open to further talk about what went wrong leading to self-doubt and a crisis in confidence.

Best practice is to take ownership for mistakes and react accordingly. Issuing apologies on behalf of your company further humanizes your brand, and the act of the apology can restore faith in your customers, and strengthen their connection with you.

Do you have an apology policy in place? It’s a great idea to implement and will save you the added stress of initiating it when something goes wrong and you’re feeling the crash-and-burn panic attack coming on. Create a team from your outstanding staff that is on-the-side dedicated to the art of the corporate apology. Choose team members who represent a variety of departments and customer service strengths because no 2 apologies are alike and a variety of opinions will help you to cover all aspects of the issue.

Whether you need to send an apology to 1 customer you addressed by the wrong name, you sent the wrong link out in a newsletter, or you offended the general public on social media, your corporate apology strategy should be employed in order to maintain the voice of the brand, and acknowledge whether an apology is necessary – don’t take the fall when something goes wrong that was out of your company’s hands, however, you still need to address the situation and maintain your stellar customer service skills.

Be timely with your apology and craft it wisely. Excuses make you look like a whiner and long-winded messages will be ignored, (and can also make you look like a whiner). Don’t blame it on the intern, and don’t let the intern take the blame because regardless of who made the mistake it is a company matter and you’re a team. Select one person to personalize and sign the apology. Even if you’re using a template make sure there are plenty of customizable aspects – this shows that you take your customers seriously. Be tactful and concise. Briefly explain what happened, but it’s more important to let your customers know that you value them, and how you endeavor to prevent a repeat performance.

Above all be sincere. Acknowledge the problem, take ownership of the problem, and solve the problem without using more of your customers’ time than necessary. Avoid making the apology about you and your feelings, that’s not what the people want to hear. Your company is about the customer, so make sure that your apology is, too.

And when it’s all over and done, put the whole mess behind you. Dwelling on a mistake makes for a painful work environment, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.


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