As a businessperson your primary social currency is the apology, and you need to spend freely. If you have trouble crafting perfect apologies to customers, follow this advice:
First remember, your mistake probably feels bigger than it actually is. Any tough conversation comes with a fear of the unknown. Mulling over your mistake has probably magnified its importance. Relax.
Apologize personally, with humility, respect, and honesty. Speak as a humble person, preferably face-to-face and using personal language. It’s important to actually say the words “sorry” or “apologize” and provide a clear, succinct indication of exactly what you’re apologizing for.
In the case with Sarah’s client, she says she apologized right away: “My immediate response was to email back and say that I was so sorry, and then I scheduled a phone call. Once we got on the phone, they were actually really nice about the whole thing—they felt bad about sending that email.”
Wording your apology plainly helps. Here’s an example: “I know I really screwed up here, and I know I made you and your team look bad in the process. I want to apologize personally and figure out a way to turn it around. Are you open to talking about that?”
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