Bespoke Apology in Customer Service By Aliyu Ilias

Eventually, there will be service break, something would go wrong, a customer would be upset by someone’s mistake and when it happens how prepared are you to own the mistake and apologies by using I am sorry phrase appropriately to anyone affected.


The gap between compensation and genuine apology are far apart, you may offer a fantastic compensation but if you cannot own the mistake, customers would be less satisfy, the cheapest way to turn around a bad customer experience is knowing how to apologise correctly and it is a key skill l for all businesses.


To have an effective apology you must be proactive and understand what exactly went wrong not because your organisation said you should apologise, empathy must reflect in the tone of the apology. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and determine how the issue affected them. Was it time consuming? Did they lose money? Have they lost trust in your product or service? Being specific about the problem will let your customer know you understand the full implications of the issue.


Thinking through the context for your customer’s anger will help you write a more genuine and thorough apology.


Most people find it difficult to use this phrase, perhaps if they eventually use it,it may lack the the personal touch and we must follow “I’m sorry” with the reason for your apology. A good example is I’m sorry there’s been a delay in our response or I apologize for not calculating the monthly cost correctly.


It is also good to offer an explanation at this digital age customers really want to understand what went wrong in the first place. It helps ease the concerns that it might happen again.


Recently I was at the Lagos Airport en route Owerri, the flight got delayed for all the passenger travelling out of the domestic airport. I expect an apology for the delay from Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria FAAN and the Airlines with an explanation, the Airline staff only appear to tell us about flight delay without apology, I also expect an apology from the cabin crew. It appears we are sorry is not in their dictionary, meanwhile, you cannot run from things been go wrong sometimes, you can only prepare the service recovery, compensation and genuine apology with the phrase I am sorry.


For customer service professional we understand that apology could be dynamic, My Company sells customer-relationship-management software, research and training and we have hundreds of happy clients. But we also have our unhappy ones too. It’s the same research and training method, same implementation but a different reaction, but apologising helps to bring a customer to a neutral state, sometimes a customer may not really understand what they want except we explain the process and outcome to the customers.


Every business must learn the use of bespoke apologies and gifts to customers when a complaint has been escalated beyond a certain point.


At this age, it is good to engage an ombudsman or someone who can do sorry as a service. The person would act as the intermediary between a brand and its customer. If a support agent believes a customer deserves a gift and a personalised apology as a result of a complaint fielded to their brand, the agent is able to select a series of apology options so as to deliver bespoke gifts or handwritten apologies, to the customer’s front door.

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