About the Knowledge Base
Search all the Knowledge Base
Testimonial: I have found that the new HDAA Knowledge Base reduces the time it takes me to research industry stats & reliable information for the ITSM sector. It’s easy to use search functionality encompassing KCS principles, helps to filter & tailor my searches more accurately & there are numerous new services now available through the website. Every time I return to the site there is new information published. Very impressive.
Chris Powderly, Support & Services Manager, Allens
supportworld , support center , workforce enablement , customer experience , customer service
No Result Found
There are about one thousand varieties of insincere apology. There’s the smirking “Sorry if you were offended” apology which blames the person you insulted. There’s the oblique, passive voice “Mistakes were made” apology that admits nothing. Nothing! And there’s the undercutting “If I did something wrong, I’m sorry” apology that doesn’t even accept that something worth being sorry for actually happened.
If you are an otherwise sincere person, your close relationships can probably survive a handful of insincere apologies. Saying “Sorry, Not Sorry” a few times won’t make your mom or your spouse write you off. But when you work in customer support, an insincere apology can really backfire. It can make an angry customer angrier. A “nonpology” can squander the rapport you have worked so hard to build with your customers.
Sometimes, when things go wrong, when you are to blame for a problem, or when a customer is rightfully aggrieved, all you can offer is an apology, so you really must learn to do it right. Here are three tips for writing a heartfelt apology to a customer.
Let’s say you work in customer support for a cable service provider we’ll call ComFinity. A customer, Susan, uses live chat (at her office) to let you know that her cable at home hasn’t been working since the thunderstorm two days ago, and she’s upset because she missed the season finale of her favorite show, The Voice.
A typical response from the support analyst, David, might go like this:
Hello Susan. Thank you for contacting ComFinity Live Chat Support. My name is David. Please give me one moment to review your information. I regret any inconvenience this outage may have caused you, but I'll be more than happy to resolve it for you...
Stop right there! Don’t write an apology like, “We regret any inconvenience this may have caused…” First, “may have” sounds antagonistic. Clearly, this event did cause inconvenience; there’s no “may have” about it. Second, “any” is generic. ComFinity knows what kind of inconvenience is involved when a customer misses a favorite show. Third, we would never say this to a customer in person. If you would never say something to a customer face-to-face, don’t write it. If Susan were complaining about slow response to an outage to a ComFinity employee in the store, that employee would never look Susan in the eye and say, “We regret any inconvenience this may have caused…” so ComFinity should avoid this wording in its chats and emails.
What should you write instead of, “We regret any inconvenience this may have caused…”? One reliable strategy is to name the inconvenience and admit that it happened. Here’s a revised version of the ComFinity response to Susan:
Thank you for contacting us about the outage. We’re really sorry about the inconvenience of missing the season finale of The Voice. We would like to do some troubleshooting to solve the problem. Do you have time to do that now or would later this evening work better?
Apologizing to a customer is about taking responsibility for a bad or disappointing thing that’s happened. It’s also about validating the customer’s perspective, seeing things from the customer’s point of view. So, it’s OK if you lay it on a bit thick. Sometimes a wronged customer needs a little extra.
One approach to writing your apology is to pair the I’m sorry part with mention of what should have happened or what you should have done. Here are a few examples:
A sincere apology earns points with an unhappy customer, and if you follow it with an empathy statement, you earn lots of points. It’s difficult to tell which part soothes the customer more. Is it the apology, in which you take responsibility for the wrongdoing? Or is it the empathy statement, in which you see the situation from the customer’s point of view? No matter. Apology-plus-empathy is the cookies-and-milk of customer care. Here are a few examples of this effective pairing:
Don’t pepper your customer communications with wanton apologies. Don’t say you’re sorry for anything and everything. But when you’ve made a mistake, forced a customer to cope with an inefficient system, caused a delay, or given a customer incorrect information, say you’re sorry. It’s the right thing to do, and it makes your customers trust you.
Leslie O'Flahavan has delivered writing courses for support center staff, customer service agents, and social media managers, helping thousands of professionals hone their customer-focused writing skills. She helps support organizations train agents to write well in all service channels, measure the quality of their writing, and revise and maintain their entire library of canned answers. Leslie is the coauthor of Clear, Correct, Concise E-Mail: A Writing Workbook for Customer Service Agents. Visit her E-Write website, follow her on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.
No Result Found
- Contact Us
- IT Membership
- Support Centre Association
- Comparison Guide
- Price Guide
- Membership Conditions
Training & Workshops
- Training Courses
- Recent Workshops
- Cancellation & Transfer Policy
- ITIL Training
- ITIL Foundations
- Support Centre Consulting
- Service Desk Consulting
- Help Desk Consulting
- Media Kit
- Update your details
- New account
© Copyright HDAA. All rights reserved.
HDAA - Energising the Service & Support Profession
Help Desk Association Australasia Pty Ltd trading as HDAA
T: 1300 130 447 T: +61 (0) 2 9986 1988 F: +61 (0) 2 9986 1330
W: www.hdaa.com.au A: PO Box 303, Turramurra NSW 2074 Australia
ABN: 20 088 292 755
Our Services: ITIL | ITIL Training | ITIL Foundations | IT Membership | Service Desk Association | Support Centre Association | Support Centre Training | Service Desk Training | Help Desk Training | Support Centre Consulting | Service Desk Consulting | Help Desk Consulting
ITIL® and PRINCE2® are registered trade marks of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.
RESILIA™ is a trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.
The Swirl logo™ is a trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.
The APMG-International Service Catalogue and Swirl Device logo is a trade mark of The APM Group Limited.
DevOps Foundation®, is a registered mark of the DevOps Institute.
HDI® is a Registered Trade Mark. HDAA is the Australasian Gold Partner of HDI®.
KCSSM is a Service Mark of the Consortium for Service Innovation™.
WEB DEVELOPMENT PARTNER