The Power Of An Apology
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 thirteen years in sales, I have said “I’m sorry” dozens 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 where there were delays, payment issues or other factors that have caused my customers to be disappointed in the services that they have paid for.
But through honesty and candour, business relationships can be saved by taking a few steps to understand how an issue or mistake has negatively impacted your customer.
Instead of blaming others, as the face of the company, I take personal responsibility for the mistakes 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. .
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 mend the relationship.
Take Full Responsibility. Let the customer know 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.
Listen. This 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.
Provide a Timeline. Explain how you (and your team) are fixing the issue and let them know the steps that you are taking to prevent it from happening again. Ensure that your customer has a timeframe for the next steps.
Follow Up. This may be the most important step of all. In this, you have an opportunity to ensure customer success by making sure 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 Eduthink. For more information on our solutions, contact us.