When all the customer service representatives (CS Reps.) are trained to always prioritize the word “sorry” whenever the customer is complaining, this article confidently suggests you to stop doing that.
Before you get confused by this writing, let’s understand deeper the context of “sorry”. “Sorry” is a regret statement against the mistake, that should be shown as you already know where the exact mistake is.
On daily practice, the first thing that CS Reps. said when the customer’s complaining, whatever the problem and whoever fault it is, is always “Sorry for your inconvenience”. This habit arises from the general theory, believing that apology makes the customer feels appreciated.
You need to remember that when the customers complain, it actually doesn’t always caused by your fault. Moreover, customers tend to be worse when you say more “sorry”. You’ve probably experienced the same thing. You feel annoyed by a problem, but the only way of the CS Rep. entertains you is just a procedural “sorry” and “sorry”. You haven’t got the solution, but you got sick of “sorry”.
This aggravation is clearly fair because basically the customer contacts the CS Rep. as they got stuck in trouble and need some solution, over than the apology. The newest studies also already deduced that apology is actually, in fact, may ruin your customer satisfaction.
A study from Case Western Reserve University analyzed 111 videos from the CS Desk in the US and UK airports. This study discovered that the more CS Rep. repeating the word “sorry”, the more customers underestimate their competency. Consequently, the customer satisfaction going lower.
Additionally, Emilie Johnston from the CloudApp said that relying on the word “sorry” while facing the customer is no further from making the problem getting worse. This “over-apology” habit may direct the customer to be more upset and stirs the feeling of revenge. It also makes them feel the real problem is being ignored and think the company really done something wrong. In this case, the company stands on unequal ground against the customer since the customer already look the company down, when it should be the solution maker.
Sure enough you don’t want this to ever happen in your company. Therefore, the company should combine this “apologize” habit with another strategy. On the other words, the company should think about the way to have a good work standard and surely conduct evaluation simultaneously to make sure whether the standard is done well, based on the existing requirement, or not. The whole team also needs to be trained well to ensure they can implement, both the system and the SOP excellently.
Moreover, the evaluation and improvement against the mistakes is also taking part in satisfying the customer. If you really have to apologize, do it as needed and only used the effective technic, more than just repeating the word “sorry” and being humble in front of the angry customers.
The insight of Bob Easton from Accenture Australia and New Zealand might be a good input for us. Bob believes that effort and creativity in solving a problem make the customer more satisfied rather than just “sorry” and empathy. It means the company needs to build the great team of customer service who used to deliver creative solutions.