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Apologize like you mean it

false apology cardsI’m sick of insincere apologies, especially from businesses.  Even at one of the greatest stores to grace our fine city, QuikTrip, there is a sign that says they will no longer cash money orders.  At the bottom of the sign is, “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause”, or some such nonsense.  Listen, if you are not going to offer something or if you have a policy that makes good business sense, you have no need to “apologize” for it.  A more honest sign would simply end with, “Thanks for your business.”

Now, let me go a little further in the “fake apology” epidemic that plagues politicians, businesses, and people in general.  If you are really sorry, say it straight.  And then offer a way to make it right.  Otherwise, just say that you regret that it happened (whatever “it” is).  I will give you an expensive, very recent example straight from The Green Van.  We made a very rare mistake with a customer’s pair of pants.  And to be completely honest, our response was not as quick as it should have been.  Ultimately this is my fault.  Here’s how we handled it:  we contacted our customer and let him know that the mistake and responsibility was on our side.  We offered to give him credit for a new pair of pants, or a check for the price of a new pair.  Of course, I hoped that he would opt for the credit.  In some situations, I would have only offered credit.  But each situation is unique, and I felt that this one deserved special consideration.

How did it go?  My customer asked for a check.  I immediately sent him a check along with a written apology, owning the problem and hopefully making it right.  I hope he will remain a customer; we have provided him with top-notch service for years and I would hate to lose him.  But that’s out of my hands.  I know that I solved the problem to the best of my ability, and I didn’t offer some lame, insincere fake-apology.

-Derek Anderson, owner

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