Do you deliver a meaningful apology?

This is a guest post from Jeanne Bliss — customer experience expert and author of “I Love You More Than My Dog.” See the original post this is adapted from and more like it on her blog.

Beloved companies are not only good at the apology, they are also adept at making the other four decisions. All decisions contribute to the delivery of a meaningful apology. That is why deciding to “say sorry” is the final decision in my book, I Love You More Than My Dog.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

Your apology is your humanity litmus test.

It is 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.

Read more: The Apology Peace Process

About Jeanne Bliss

As “Chief Customer Officer” for Lands’ End, Mazda, Coldwell Banker, Allstate, and Microsoft, Jeanne got “customer” on the strategic agenda, earned 98% loyalty rates, and changed experiences across 50,000-person operations. Jeanne now runs CustomerBliss to create an actionable path for profitability and business growth -- through earning customer and employee raves. Her best-selling books are Chief Customer Officer and I Love You More than My Dog: Five Decisions that Drive

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