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The Power Of An Apology


"I’m sorry.”

Those two magical words can often make or break a relationship - both professional and personal. Yet, we often find it exceedingly difficult to mutter those words when we know we are in the wrong.

In my fifteen years in sales, I have said “I’m sorry” dozens, maybe hundreds of times, even though, often I was not the cause of the issue. From complex software implementations to the delivery of thousands of educational resources, there have been numerous times when there were delays, payment issues, or other factors that have caused my customers to be disappointed in the services that they have invested in.

An apology, delivered with sincerity and humility, is a powerful tool that can transform relationships. It provides the foundation for trust and loyalty, two pillars that sustain any lasting relationship between you and your customers. When businesses own up to their mistakes, they show customers that they value and respect their feedback. It humanizes the company, demonstrating that they're not infallible but are willing to correct the situation.

When a customer has a negative experience, how a business responds can often make or break the relationship. By stepping up and taking responsibility for the issue, you can show customers that their satisfaction is a priority. An authentic apology reassures the customer that they are heard and that their concerns are being taken seriously. This response not only helps to resolve the immediate problem but also contributes to building a positive image of you and your company.

In sales, the power of an apology can be a game-changer. An apology not only cultivates a more trusting relationship but also puts customers at ease. It's about empathy and understanding, it's about recognizing that the customer's issue is valid, and it's about demonstrating the commitment to resolving it.

Instead of blaming others, as the face of the company, make sure that you take personal responsibility for the challenges that the customer has experienced, and follow a responsive approach to the customer's issue, which ensures that the relationship with the customer is respected and the issue is rectified. Here are 5 steps to resolve customer challenges:

  1. Call The Customer. Yes, people still use the phone! Although many companies issue apologies through an email or even a text, a personal apology, whether face to face, on the phone, or via voicemail is integral to mending the relationship. 

  2. Take Full Responsibility. Let the customer know the origin of the issue, what has happened to date, and what you're doing to rectify the issue. Ensure that you don't "overshare" and put yourself and your organization in a worse situation.

  3. Listen and show Empathy. This is a critical step. When a customer takes the time to provide feedback, you owe them the courtesy of listening. Often, all that a frustrated customer needs is to feel heard and understood. Be sincere, and have empathy for their situation.

  4. Provide a Timeline. Explain how you (and your team) are resolving the issue and let the customer know the steps that you are taking to prevent it from happening again. Ensure that your customer has a timeframe for the next steps.

  5. Follow Up. This may be the most important step of all. In this step, you have a growth opportunity by ensuring that your customers attained their desired outcomes. 

Through these simple steps, I have been able to save six and seven-figure contracts and build customer relationships that last!

Vince Bowry is the Founder of Blackbridge. For more information on our solutions, contact us.



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