The Art of I’m Sorry: Crafting the Perfect Customer Apology

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In our socially connected world, customers will tell twice as many people about a bad customer experience than a good one, so it’s critical for companies to respond with a meaningful customer apology before a simple mistake escalates into a public debacle.

Remember United Airlines’ apology after the rampers broke the country singer’s guitar? Remember when Apple had to apologize for their bad maps? Don’t go down in the history books. If your company reacts quickly to remedy the problem, your situation is less likely to be remembered. Here are tips from TTEC and Corpen Group on how to save relationships with the perfect customer apology.

The Art of I’m Sorry: Crafting the Perfect Customer Apology
Four Basic Rules for Any Customer Apology
  • Be responsive and act quickly.
  • Be sincere. It’s ok for a company to show emotion.
  • Be specific. Take ownership for the specific act or event. If possible, offer an explanation.
  • Offer a course of correction, instead of an excuse.

After the Apology: Fixing the Situation
  1. Take time to understand what the customer needs to consider the problem solved.
  2. Offer choices for the best course of action.
  3. Explain the pros and cons for each course of action.
  4. Act and deliver, then follow up.

Corpen Group’s Anatomy of a Corporate Apology offers deeper insight to help your brand demonstrate the right amount compassion and humility to diffuse any situation. This diagram walks you through the list of ailments that escalate customers’ emotions and offers remedies for each one. Here are three primary customer fuses according to Corpen Group and the steps to short circuit them before the bomb goes off.

The Head: Customers get frustrated when companies shy away from the problem, using the excuse that it’s too early to tell. Remedy the situation by explaining what you don’t know and why. Assure the customer that you will transparently report facts as they come in.

The Heart: Customers hate dealing with brands and hearing comments like “that’s our policy.” They want real people and an apology from the heart. To remedy the situation, take a people-first approach and show them that you care.

The Hands: Putting off an apology will only anger customers. Don’t wait for the ideal solution. Show them your helping hands. Make them aware that you’re committed to making the situation right—even if you don’t have all the answers at this moment.   

But, apologies aren’t the only ways to create smooth customer experiences. Read more tips on how to make your customer apology simple, effortless, and fun.

This infographic was created by Corpen Group, and this article summarizes some of its contents. The original infographic is here.


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