Saying Sorry to Your Customers

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Apologizing sucks. No one really enjoys admitting they screwed up, especially in the business world. Most companies have this idea that admitting a mistake will cause their company to look weak and amateurish. Instead, they think that passing the blame or refusing to fess up to mistakes is the right thing to do.

And they’re wrong.

Sure, it’s not fun to apologize, but a good apology can nip a customer dispute in the bud and possibly even turn that angry customer into a long-term customer. Or at the very least, it may turn that angry customer into a less angry customer who won’t tell the entire world about his bad experience.

Of course, there’s a right way and a wrong way to apologize to your customers. So, the next time you find yourself saying sorry to an angry consumer, keep these simple tips in mind.

  • Don’t blame someone else—Customers don’t want to hear your excuses, and they don’t want to see a bunch of finger pointing. What they want is someone who will step up to the plate, apologize, and offer a solution for making things right. Never play the blame game.
  • Take control of the situation quickly—Even if it’s not your fault, you need to own the situation immediately. The faster you can get in touch with the angry customer and listen to his complaints, the better. Because if your company is unresponsive, that angry customer is only going to get angrier, and he just might take to the internet to rip your company a new one.
  • Remember the customer’s long term value—If you can make things right with this customer, is there a chance they’ll come back to buy again? Is this a repeat customer who has been doing business with you for a while? If the customer has a high long term value, you need to keep that in mind when handling the situation. Give your very best apology so you can try to keep them happy.
  • Do whatever you can to make things right—Rules are made to be broken. So, before you tell a customer you can’t (customers hate this word) do anything to solve their problem, take a step back to see if there’s any way you can bend a rule or make an exception to keep the customer happy. Customers appreciate businesses that go the extra mile to ensure their satisfaction.
  • Learn something from the bad experience—Experience is our best teacher. Sure, it sucks to have a customer mad at you, but there is always something to be learned from these situations. Figure out what exactly went wrong, and work like hell to prevent it from happening again.

Have you ever had to say sorry to your customers?

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