If your job involves serving people, part of your work is dealing with their frustration. It's all too easy to take it personally, and—let’s face it—sometimes they do get personal. You may also find yourself having to solve a problem you didn’t create, and then offering an apology on top of that.
But stop yourself if you have a tendency to apologize using some form of these six words: “ I’m sorry you feel that way.”
Writing in Inc., columnist Jason Aten notes that saying this isn’t really an apology at all. “First, you can't actually be sorry for the way someone else feels. You can only be sorry for your own behavior and the things within your control. More important, however, is that the sentiment behind those words is something along the lines of: ‘Look, I don't know why you're being irrational about this. This isn't my fault, and I think it's ridiculous that you're upset with me.’”
Telling someone you're "sorry they feel that way" avoids responsibility for your role in the situation. So, what are your options?
1/6/2021 04:58:50 am
Apologizing to a customer is never an easy task but we have it down to 3 simple steps:
1/6/2021 02:35:24 pm
I like your three simple steps. It certainly avoids the six words mentioned in the capsule. I would offer one proviso to #1 “Acknowledge you can understand why they are frustrated.” The listener needs to prove they understand the customer’s concern with a paraphrase that tells their story as well as they told it to you. If it stops with “I understand why you would be frustrated…” it could be perceived as a technique or mere words. Thanks for this contribution.
1/6/2021 01:19:42 pm
This might be the best advice I will get in all of 2021. Thanks Glasers!!
1/6/2021 01:20:13 pm
Love this Betty! Thank you so much. Best of everything, including the impact of apologies, in 2021.
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