Acts of Contrition – Say You’re Sorry Already

Ahhh, apologies.

Some people have no problem making them, and some people would rather stand in the corner and be beaten in the head with a stick than admit they have EVER made a mistake. And still others lack the self awareness to even understand that they just may have been involved in some kind of act or situation in which any damage was done. Hmmm…Which one are you?

If you have any kind of difficulty with making apologies, please read this blog carefully because there will be plenty of times in your life when an apology is warranted. And whether you want to deliver it or not, the apology will go a long way to repairing and even preventing damage. If you look back on your career thus far, there are probably some situations that would have been more easily dealt with had you just said you were sorry.

Here’s the tricky part. You just might have to LIE. Maybe you were not really the one who made the mistake. Maybe it was your desktop guy who read the work order wrong, or your CSR that wrote the date down wrong, or the estimator who missed a decimal point. But, YOU are the captain of that particular ship, and as far as your customer is concerned, you represent the whole company. And the customer needs to hear an apology from someone, so it better be you.

Say it with me, folks…

“I am SO sorry that this happened.” Come on Fonzie, you can do it.

What is more important, though, is what comes after the apology.

  • “Here is what we are doing about it.”
  • “Here is how things will be changing in the future.”
  • “As a token of our respect for your business, we are…”

And then you need to do it.

Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.

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  • Linda

    Kelly – good article – except there is never a good reason to lie. When you’re the Captain of the Ship (as you so aptly put it) you’re the one responsible. Even if you’re not the Captain but just the Captain’s representative, as far as the customer is concerned you’re it! I’ve been the Captain, now I’m the Captain’s representative and I’ve apologized even when I didn’t know who dropped the ball. I’m hoping my Captain checked on that and fixed it! I enjoy reading your posts – keep up the good work!

  • michelle

    great post-especially appreciated the…. "What is more important, though, is what comes after the apology."
    too often, an apology , even from yours truly, just becomes rote, something to smooth the waters and move on. If someone REALLY means it, they will do something to rectify the situation whenever possible. Thanks for reminding me of this essential step.