These Can Be the Two Most Aggravating Words in Business

By: Shad Bookout

sorry 1Over time, every business, every brand and every company will experience a variety of highs and lows. The challenges presented by an ever-evolving marketplace have made it so the opportunities for success are more numerous than ever before. But you are not able to please everyone. Both team members and customers alike will feel the disappointment at times and how you respond to these disappointments will set the stage for your brand’s eventual success or failure. When these circumstances happen, one of the most dangerous things you can say is a simple ”I’m sorry”.

sorry 2Apologies are a great opportunity in business. Sometimes, you are just not able to help the customer for a variety of reasons. The same goes for your team members. We have been taught throughout life that when we dissatisfy someone, that we should apologize. And, even though this fact maybe true, an open-ended apology only diminishes the value you and your brand provide. There has to be more to it.

Saying “I’m sorry” only is an admittance of not succeeding. “I’m sorry” unto itsself simply states you recognized that you failed to meet expectations. Nothing else. Just an affirmation of failure. In business, “I’m sorry” needs something provided with it to make it meaningful. Just simply saying “I’m sorry” can even be a source of aggravation to customers. However, even in your failure to meet expectations, you have an opportunity to succeed.

When you add to the phrase, something magical happens. You are able to create a second chance for satisfaction. Try adding a solution that meets their needs even it that solution is counterintuitive.

                “I’m sorry that I am not able to help you with that, but you can find a solution at…”

“I’m sorry that we do not have what you are looking for, but let me look for a moment to see if it is available at…”

“I’m sorry that I can’t help you with that project, but I am working on this item. Would it be okay if I helped later on today?”

“I’m sorry I do not have your package, but when it arrives I will send you a text.”

photo credit - http://bit.ly/1OVfN8V

photo credit – http://bit.ly/1OVfN8V

All of these and many more just like them provide an alternative to the empty gesture of a simple, “I’m sorry”. In every encounter with a customer, a coworker or even a stranger, you have the opportunity to control the outcome. Take an extra moment and make the decision to go beyond expectations. Do something memorable and do more than just protect yourself in an “I’m sorry “moment. Protect the person you are engaged with and create an outcome that defies expectations.

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