Apologies play an important role in customer interaction. But often just saying “I’m sorry” is not enough. By just repeating the phrase again and again will make it look and sound insincere.
This can be difficult at times because it is hard to be genuine when you do not always feel sorry. A salesman will have many instances where he will have to apologize to his customer.
Moreover, at times you will have to deny a request. Other times maybe your company fumbled with the order. Or you made a customer put on hold for too long, and the list goes on.
Many salespeople find it overwhelming to figure out how to apologize to customers. But do remember that an apology is very key to show your customers your deep commitment to their satisfaction.
Avoid The Non-Apology
You will notice that there are a wide number of names to communicate the same thing, which is an insincere and grating apology. Many businesses and salespeople might, unfortunately, recognize non-apology as a popular business apology.
But it is very important to be able to realize what kind of language actually conveys regret, remorse, and humility to your customers. Also, the realization of which words twist a would-be apology into one of dismissal and condescension.
Always prevent using language that removes you or your business from responsibility. That is why you need to avoid saying things like:
- I am sorry you feel that way.
- I am sorry if you are offended.
- Mistakes were made.
- It is unfortunate that things turned out this way.
Make sure you check your words for any hint of defensiveness before delivering an apology. If you are feeling on edge, there is always a chance that it is probably coming out in the form of the dreaded non-apology and that is not right.
Active listening can be difficult for salespeople often. If you are a live chat agent who is having a hard time listening to your customers, then this can be a big problem for you.
It is so because it is your job to get to the bottom of a customer’s issue and address it effectively. Therefore, the only way to give a great apology is to start by truly and carefully understanding the customer’s problem at hand.
The salesperson can follow a number of steps that will surely flex their active listening skills. Some of these skills are the following:
- Legitimize the other person’s feelings. Example: “that must have been frustrating for you.”
- Use minimal encouragers. Example: “I see”, “I understand“, and “I hear you” Periodically paraphrase. Example: “I’m sorry you’re feeling X because we did Y”.
- Resist the temptation to “fix it” Though it’s your job to eventually patch everything up, this instinct should kick in after the apology.
Active listening allows salespeople to figure out exactly why they are issuing out an apology to their customers. They can easily identify things like whether their customers are angry that they denied a request or maybe you take too long to meet their needs, and so on.
If you truly understand their struggle, then your customer is more likely to accept your apology. Therefore, do not skip this important first step in your customer interaction.
It is quite obvious that whatever your salesperson is apologizing during both Inbound and Outbound calls, not because he is at fault. He is doing so because he is acting as the face of the company and the blame has to definitely go somewhere.
So, therefore, they will apologize on behalf of their team. Make sure you focus on acknowledging where things went wrong on your end and analyze each and everything even if it’s something that seems insignificant.
For example, if you have to tell your customer that your warranty service does not cover accidents, you can try saying:
“I’m sorry our warranty didn’t properly communicate its limits. I will forward this concern to the appropriate department to ensure that we make this clearer for our customers.”
By taking responsibility, you are showing your customers that you do not take their issue lightly.
Still, If you feel like going a step further and truly want to impress your customers, give them your name. For example, if your customer is upset with a defective product you sold to them, you may say something like this to say:
“I’m very sorry that you’re having issues with our product. My name is Michael and I’m going to make sure that we get this taken care of for you today.”
When you put your name on the line, it shows that you have tremendous accountability and commitment to resolving your customers’ problems on a priority basis.
Offer Explanations, Not Excuses
It is very significant that if a customer is willing to know why something is not meeting their needs, then you must be able to tell them why things have gone wrong on your end.
As a salesperson, you should always give a valid explanation with adequate measures of blame, so that any attempt at transparency does not come across as an excuse at any cost.
For example, This happened because of X, but this is no reason to make you wait for 2 hours. I deeply apologize. I will forward this issue to a supervisor immediately.
Communicate The Solution
Communication is the key to successful customer interaction. Therefore, tell your customer what comes next, or what options he has to choose from. At the end of the day, he should know that you are actually going to make things right for him by providing him a solution.
You can consider using the following sincere apology examples to express your action:
“We understand how you feel, we’re very sorry. We’re going to take care of this for you right now. We’re deeply sorry about *Issue*. Let me speak with my supervisor to see how we can correct this for you.”
You can also use a customizable apology script using NeoDove. NeoDove offers a customizable sales script option. Salespeople can use NeoDove to customize scripts according to the customer and address the apology accordingly. It is a great way to know which apology script would fit the best depending on nature and the problem faced by your customers.