In challenging times, beloved companies make decisions grounded in humility and grace, offering resolutions that honor customers, and show an intention to mend the relationship. Five decisions contribute to the delivery of a meaningful apology. That’s why deciding to “say sorry” is the final decision in my book, “I Love You More Than My Dog.”
1. Belief enables a company to make a genuine apology without fear of retribution from customers, employees, or lawyers. They are able to suspend the fear, the cynicism, and say the words: “We’re sorry.”
2. Clarity of purpose enables a company to know with speed and decisiveness what actions must be taken to get the balance back when a customer situation throws things out of whack. Without clarity, a hollow apology might be thought to suffice.
3. Being real enables the actions to be heartfelt, genuine, and personalized. When the right tenor throughout the customer relationship already exists, an empathetic and heartfelt apology is a natural part of the conversation during the occasional failure.
4. Operating and making decisions to be there for customers on their terms enables companies to have early warning signs in place. They know when things go off track. They proactively plan actions and accountability that click into place and have thought ahead about what incidents are most common and how they will be handled.
5. Your apology (how you decide to say sorry) is your humanity litmus test. It’s unavoidable that at some point, your business will suffer a failure that disappoints customers. How your company reacts, explains, removes the pain, and takes accountability for actions signals how you think about customers, and the collective heart of your organization.
Grace and wisdom guide decisions of beloved companies toward accepting responsibility and resolving the situation when the chips are down—not accusations and skirting accountability. Repairing the emotional connection well is a hallmark of beloved companies. It makes us love them even more.