Customer Service #FAIL? How to Apologize in 3 Steps

Mistakes happen.

It’s just a simple, but painful, fact of life. We all have that one off day every now and then and it usually happens right when we really don’t need it. Well, when is it ever a good day to have a bad day?

In the realm of customer service, bad days for those of us in  business can mean the difference between keeping and losing a potential customer, or even worse, losing a loyal customer. So what do you do when that one moment hits?

In the words of the ex-manager of the Opera Populaire in Phantom of the Opera, “Grovel.”

Yes, I said it. Grovel. Your customers are your life. You business lives because they choose to be there. Without them, you are nothing—well, your business is nothing. Groveling seems to be such a bad thing, but you need to grovel without seeming like you’re groveling. How do you do that?

Step 1:

Admit it when you screw up. Honesty is definitely the best policy. Nobody likes a weasel. When a mistake is made, admit it to your customers and let them know that you are going to do everything you can to fix it and make sure it never happens again. Humility goes a long way to smoothing out hard feelings.

Step 2:

Follow up on your promise. If you say you’re going to fix the problem, fix it and fix it promptly. Don’t waste time. Better yet, give yourself a deadline and let the customer know about that deadline. Keep them informed of your progress. Customers don’t like being kept in the dark wondering if you actually are working to correct the issue. 

Step 3:

Sweeten the deal. Throw in some extras and freebies to help placate the customer’s frustration. When spouses make a mistake, they bring their loved ones flowers or chocolate. Your customers are your business’ loved ones.Treat them like it.Show them you care and want their business.

Like I said, we all have that off day and when that day hits for you, just remember these steps and you should be alright.

After all, tomorrow is another day.

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