Apologizing Could be Bad for Your Business

Lauren Krause
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How do your employees handle customer problems and complaints? Many companies train employees to immediately apologize to the customer and then try to solve the customer’s problem. However, this approach may not be the correct way to handle consumers' issues, especially if your customer service representatives apologize too much.

Empty and Irrelevant Apologies

Apologizing to the customer when an error is made is fine, as long as the apology is genuine. When you train your employees to apologize for every little concern or issue the customer has, the apologies are meaningless.

The fact is, customers just want issues resolved in a timely manner. There is no need to apologize to customers multiple times. Instead of training your employees to apologize in response to practically everything customers say, focus on apologizing less often. Give apologies only when necessary.

Respect and Credibility

When your customer service representatives apologize to customers constantly, it diminishes their credibility. Customer service representatives are supposed to be experts in their field. They are supposed to be able to solve your customers' issues. However, over-apologizing changes the dynamic of the relationship your company has with your customers. When your customer service representatives apologize too much, it puts your customers into more superior positions.

Good relationships thrive on an equal and mutual respect between two parties. By over-apologizing, your customer service representatives appear as if they don’t know how to do their jobs, and your customers won’t respect them. It’s important for your representatives to be empathetic to your customers concerns, but it’s just as important for your representatives to remain in control of the situation so that they don’t lose credibility. Improve customer service by teaching employees to use phrases such as “I understand how you feel,” instead of apologizing. This way, it shows the customer that the representative cares about the problem, but the representative retains control of the contact.

Increased Costs

When your customer service representatives apologize to your customers, they admit fault. This opens the door for the client to expect some type of reimbursement. Customer retention is important, but you don’t have to accrue additional costs or write off charges to retain customers. By teaching your customer service representatives to apologize less, you could save your company a substantial amount of money.

Train your customer service representatives to apologize only when it’s clear that your company is at fault, and then rectify the issue. Otherwise, train your employees not to apologize just for the sake of it. Instead of admitting fault when your representative feels like the customer’s account needs a monetary adjustment, teach the representative to use words such as “in good faith.” This way, your customer is happy that the problem is resolved, knows that your company cares about him, and your company does not lose credibility by apologizing for an error that may not have been its fault.

Ultimately, when customers call a company, they just want their problem resolved as quickly as possible. They don’t need, or even want, to hear a lot of empty apologies. Train your customer service representatives to be empathetic to the situation without over-apologizing. Then, you’ll retain your company’s credibility and have happy customers.

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at freedigitalphotos.net



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