Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The art of the professional apology

In my line of business it's often assumed that it's unwise to apologise. The same probably goes for most businesses. To apologise is to admit liability for at least part of a mistake that has been made. As a provider of a professional service, to apolgise is to reveal a vulnerability in the expertise that your customers have come to you for.

Yet a sincere, unlaboured apology can be an important part of the ongoing development of a business relationship. It can also test a relationship. Is the receiving party going to take advantage of the situation and press for discount, raising a volunteered admission of mistake as justification? And in that case, is this the type of customer you really want to be dealing with (if you have a choice)?



[This joker doesn't look particularly sincere - https://medium.com/@laurenholliday_/how-to-write-a-damn-good-apology-8b554513f8eb]

A sincere apology usually takes courage. It can in-fact be viewed as a sign of good judgement. An apology is often acknowledgement that you wish to surface an issue for discussion and seek to improve performance as a key outcome - and can signal that you wish to move on quickly and efficiently. Isn't that a desirable and valuable trait in a professional?

On the other hand, an unscrupulous apology can simply be a way to get gullible/naive people off your back when you are in the process of trying to swindle them. For this reason, careful attention to any apology volunteered in a business situation is prudent.

As a provider of a specialised service, it's of course also important for a customer to have confidence in your ability to deliver a quality outcome. In that regard, an apology shouldn't be volunteered frivolously. It takes practice to judge when an apology should be offered, certainly.



[Learn how to apologise proper - https://www.parentmap.com/article/the-power-of-real-apologies-in-a-fake-apology-world]

The art of the professional apology is not easy to master. In my opinion, to steer clear of using it altogether though can stunt the potential for development of deep mutual understanding - and productivity - in a business relationship. Like any powerful tool, the apology should be handled with care - with practice though, and used judiciously, it can enhance customer outcomes and enrich business success.


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