7 Ways to Say I’m Sorry When Dealing with Customers

Keisha Stoute | 4 MIN READ

How many times have you heard, “oops”, when your provider made a mistake concerning a service, an account balance, incorrect paperwork or an issue that was not resolved? It’s not easy saying I’m sorry to your customers when you have screwed up, but it is necessary for the success of any business. In fact, your business teams should be able to utter those magical words with ease. According to a Saleforce article, in the US, the cost of poor customer service is $41 billion per year. Losing customers due to poor customer service can definitely take a hit to your bottom line.

Mistakes happen all the time, but how you handle the situation will determine how your customers will respond. With competition lurking at every corner, you must reestablish a true customer experience through an effective apology and make it count.

As a customer, I have experienced many provider oversights and how they treated me determined if I remained loyal. In many cases, my concerns were escalated until a solution was rendered. By the time things were resolved, I was given many apologizes and extra perks for the inconvenience. Over time, I forgot about many instances while others remained at the forefront of my memory. After dealing with these experiences, what counted the most as a customer was how I was treated in the end. Finishing strong after a rocky road is the best way to apologize.

Here are 7 ways to Say “I’m Sorry”, when dealing with customers:

1. Provide a written apology.

Offering a written apology shows that you have taken ownership for the mishap and provide the customer with peace of mind through a written form of expression. You can also send a hand written note in the mail to create a personalized touch. Remember, not offer excuses for your behavior but rather state solutions that will correct the problem.

2. Offer a discount

Some sort of financial savings is always a good way to help erase a bad customer experience. Consumers want to see a financial reward visible in their wallet after dealing with a time consuming faux pas. Discounts ranging from 10 - 20 % are standard peace offerings that usually make customers happy.

3. Upgrade a service

Everyone loves an upgrade and a nice way to say I’m sorry is to provide your customers with an upgraded product or service at no additional cost. In order to maintain your business you have to give a little to keep the customers engaged. Good customer engaged will determine if they will stay happy or search for a better service and product.

4. Provide a Credit

Offering a credit when your service is not performing well is a must in order to compensate customers for issues that they are beyond their control. This is a great way to say I’m sorry. Please note, providing a credit is a temporary fix to a larger problem that needs to be addressed.

5. Give a Gift Card

I recall an instance where I was disappointed with my cable provider, and to my surprise I received a $15 dollar visa gift card in the mail as a form of an apology. The gift card was a put to use immediately and I thought it was a great gesture to show company appreciation even during challenging times. This option allows the customer to spend the gift card anywhere and on things of their choice.

6. Call Me

With the advancement of technology the good old telephone still has a purpose. Customers still appreciate a personal phone call every now and then especially when you are not trying to sell a new product or service. When an error occurs, calling a customer is a great opportunity to make your wrongs right with a human voice.

7. Post on Social

Social media is a great platform to say I’m sorry when issues are wide spread and affect a large number of customers. This presents an opportunity to state the problem, give a timeline when the solution will be implemented etc… With a growing number of online reviews sites, it best for company’s to fuss up and correct the issue.

A Huffington Post article, offers 10 Most Famous Corporate Apology Letters that can be a resource for composing apology letters to customers. These tools along with other customer service training materials are great for quarterly training in LMS.
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