If you serve customers or clients you are in the service industry and understand that 100% satisfaction is the goal to aim for when serving customers. Our goal is 100% satisfaction, but there are those times that we fail and even though it may only be 1% of the time, those are the situations that stick in our mind and can do damage to our reputation.
Maybe it was that we over promised but under delivered with services or product. Maybe there was an unexpected cost, an increased price, or miscommunication that has caused a problem. Whatever it is if the people you serve are unhappy and dissatisfied an apology is owed.
When you make that apology you really only have one time to hit the bull’s eye and get it right. One of the most important things to do when you know an apology is owed is to do it quickly, do not delay as it could make matters worse.
Ask for an explanation of what the problem is, take time to listen to all of the details and ask questions, if needed, so you can truly understand where they are coming from and what the real problem is. Many times once people are allowed to verbally explain their problem or dissatisfaction, they feel better just having done so.
But when it comes time to apologize for any wrong doing, misunderstanding, or conflict make sure you look the person in the eye and speak sincerely to them about being sorry for the situation and let them know what can be done, to correct it or to make the situation better.
You must remember that people know when you are not being sincere (don’t you?). Choose your words carefully, and take your time to think the whole situation through. The last thing you want to do is make promise that you cannot keep, or give false hope to a person who is already disappointed and upset.
If you remember the three points listed below when is comes to apologizing you will be headed in the right direction to restoring your customers confidence in your company and restoring relationships that will bring future business.
Keys steps to successful apology recovery:
1. Do it quickly.
2. Listen carefully to get all of the details so you know why they are unhappy.
3. Be sincere to them in your apology and what you can do to make it better.
Do not shortchange the person who you are apologizing to, they will remember it, and tell others. Whatever restoration plan you have offered, deliver it on time and more than what they expected. Wow them with your apology. Do something up and beyond what their expectations are.
The idea is to not only show that you are sorry for the mistake, but that you want to keep them as customers because you value them as people.