We hear “I’m sorry” everyday, whether someone accidentally bumps into you in a coffee shop or is late to an appointment. An expression of empathy or regret of an action usually resolves these situations easily. But when it comes to customer service, apologizing has been mistaken as one of the essential actions to ensure customer satisfaction. Because of this golden customer service philosophy, “the customer is always right”, service providers will take the responsibility of an unpleasant experience even when it was not their fault. Over-apologizing when doing business could lead to serious consequences such as a drastic change in a business relationship and the escalation of a client’s dissatisfaction. Rather than believing that apologies are the answer to your customer service problems, let’s take a look at a few ways you can take the problem solving and conflict resolution approach rather than answering with empty apologies.
Build Your Business On Professionalism
Apologies change the dynamic of the relationships with your clients. Business is all about relationships, and saying sorry is not always the way to develop a good working relationship with your customer. It doesn’t matter if that person is a potential customer, new customer or returning customer, you still want to establish an equal and respectful relationship. Saying sorry too many times will make your customer question your expertise, “why is this person always making mistakes?” or “Can I rely on him/her to manage my project?“. Instead, display your willingness to resolve problems.
Apologies Are Not the Solution in Many Cases
Credibility is very important to a business and apologizing is not a good way to build it up. Customers complain for a reason. They want solutions instead of apologies. Saying “I’m sorry” consistently will only diminish the value of an apology; it will become empty and irrelevant over time. For example, a customer calls and complains about not being able to make a data connection. Apologizing will not help in this case because the customer is most concerned with connecting to the mobile data network. Over-apologizing may even escalate the client’s dissatisfaction because every minute you spend apologizing, is a minute the client loses of the value the client pays for that product or service. Rather than issuing an apology, search for ways to provide a solution to the problem.
Many of us are hardwired to apologize even when it’s not necessary but as previously mentioned, apologies are not the solution in many cases; it’s usually just the first instinct. Instead of saying “I am very sorry…” one might say “I’m disappointed to hear that…” By responding with the latter, you are not admitting fault but are still displaying concern about your client’s satisfaction.
From a business’ standpoint, the main purpose of an apology is to repair the relationship between your business and your customer and over-apologizing is not the best practice. In order to make an apology meaningful, you have to understand what the client really wants, sometimes an expression of empathy or a regret of an action will ease the customer’s concern, but an apology should be delivered when it is really deserved. At Ready Artwork, we would rather understand our clients’ needs and his or her unique situation rather than profusely apologizing for the sake of apologizing. We would like to acknowledge any problems and search for the appropriate solution.