JS Tip 270: The Power of an Apology

Tips from Jefferson Smith Training and Consulting

** From the Customer Service Workshops: The Strength of an Apology

We explored this idea a long time ago. It’s time for a revisit.

The apology takes a lot of hits in business: “Never apologize!” “It admits liability!” “It will get you in trouble!”

We suggest—and the research backs this up—a simple apology may get you out of trouble.

The University of Michigan Health System encourages its doctors to apologize for their mistakes. The system's attorney fees have dropped by two-thirds and malpractice lawsuits have dropped by half.

Consider two types of apologies:

“I’m sorry this happened.” This show empathy. It identifies with the other person’s pain. It goes a long way in repairing broken bridges. It doesn’t admit liability.

“I’m sorry we made a mistake.” This admits liability. This demonstrates honesty and accountability when you’re at fault.

Each type is right and appropriate for its circumstances.

And sometimes, it's just flat-out the right thing to do.

For more information, visit www.sorryworks.net (http://jeffsmith.us3.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=a36ff6c05a3a86ee5603a8af9&id=b3110ae766&e=f5cb1b3d2d) and explore their three-part approach to resolving difficulties. They serve clients across the board, from hospitals to businesses.

What are your questions? We love this stuff.

One last thought: Seventy years ago this morning. Ponder it. Remember it.


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