How To Apologize

To apologize or not to apologize? It shouldn’t really be a question. So many people think that when sales reps make a sincere apology to a customer it means that they are admitting their business was at fault. Well, maybe their business or staff really were at fault.

The best way to soothe an angry or disgruntled customer is by empathizing with them and accepting the responsibility for what has happened to them. And what could possibly show that you care better than a sincere apology?

Here are some key guidelines how to apologize to your customers which will make you excel at customer support.

A good start is saying “I’m sorry”

There isn’t a more straightforward way to apologize than saying you’re truly sorry. If you have to apologize a thousand times for the same thing, just do it.

Don’t get frustrated or angry. Put a smile on your face and even though your only wish is to scream and shout, say “I’m sorry” and do your job.

Fix it No Matter What

But what if the error didn’t occur on your side? In customer service, a thing such as customer’s fault doesn’t really exist. Don’t make accusations and don’t make your customers fix the problem themselves.

Offer help and find the solution instead. No matter what, the customer is the one that will pay you for your effort (or decide that your work wasn’t worth anything at all).

LiveAgent Ticket Feature
  • Use departments and tags for segmentation and distribution and assignment of tickets.
  • Use the extended customer information view to quickly gather information about the customer you are communicating with and access multiple integrations with other apps.
  • Ticket thread lets you see all communication with a customer even if it started from a different channel like chat and continued with email.
  • Quick Action Buttons help you easily transfer and postpone tickets as well as add notes, and other actions.
LiveAgent
  • The Left navigation panel lets you quickly navigate across the chat dashboard. You can check all active chats, availability per agent or access settings of chat buttons.
  • After Live Chat is initiated, you can see details of the customer chatting with you, like the page where chat was initiated, IP address, or previous communication.
  • Thanks to our real-time typing view you are able to see what customer type even before they click "send". You can prepare your answers and amaze them with lightning-speed service.
LiveAgent
  • Similar to live chat overview, call center offers left panel that will help you navigate inside dashboard in 1 click.
  • Call history offers list of all incoming and outgoing calls from LiveAgent with full-text search.
  • Action button lets you open a specific call ticket so you can access call recordings and the whole ticket thread.
LiveAgent Ticket Feature
  • Reports are a popular part of LiveAgent. They help you to see department statistics, so you can get a quick overview of what's happening in your helpdesk.
  • Inside the dashboard, you can see your online/offline agents and even initiate an internal chat with them!
  • With Personal statistics you can see performance your own individual metrics like time logged in or tickets answered.
  • Leaderboards are a part of gamification. They make daily work more fun and help to push performance of individual agents as they can compare their performance.

Acknowledge and Own the Issue

Give the customer some validation by letting them know that you understand their problem is real. Be careful how you construct your apology though. Instead of saying “I’m sorry you feel that way” acknowledge the problem (and your responsibility) with words such as “I’m sorry for all this frustration we have caused you.”

It can be tricky to articulate. Luckily, there are many great books out there to help you out. Try The Art of Apology or The Customer Rules.

Explain the Problem Clearly

Just like it is important to own the problem, you should also offer an explanation for how or why it happened. This shows your customer that you are taking the time to understand what has happened to them.

Offering an explanation means you and your business are trustworthy and transparent. Having the time to explain also indicates that you care and you are working on resolving the problem.

Try to Always Use Appropriate Language

A friend of mine once told me that being in business makes you an actor, a technical guru, and a tamer of wild animals all at once. You never know what kind of person you are about to deal with so you better be prepared to improvise.

Change your tone according to the customer’s mood and choose your words wisely. Using appropriate language, body language and facial expressions is the key.

LiveAgent Ticket Feature
  • Use departments and tags for segmentation and distribution and assignment of tickets.
  • Use the extended customer information view to quickly gather information about the customer you are communicating with and access multiple integrations with other apps.
  • Ticket thread lets you see all communication with a customer even if it started from a different channel like chat and continued with email.
  • Quick Action Buttons help you easily transfer and postpone tickets as well as add notes, and other actions.
LiveAgent
  • The Left navigation panel lets you quickly navigate across the chat dashboard. You can check all active chats, availability per agent or access settings of chat buttons.
  • After Live Chat is initiated, you can see details of the customer chatting with you, like the page where chat was initiated, IP address, or previous communication.
  • Thanks to our real-time typing view you are able to see what customer type even before they click "send". You can prepare your answers and amaze them with lightning-speed service.
LiveAgent
  • Similar to live chat overview, call center offers left panel that will help you navigate inside dashboard in 1 click.
  • Call history offers list of all incoming and outgoing calls from LiveAgent with full-text search.
  • Action button lets you open a specific call ticket so you can access call recordings and the whole ticket thread.
LiveAgent Ticket Feature
  • Reports are a popular part of LiveAgent. They help you to see department statistics, so you can get a quick overview of what's happening in your helpdesk.
  • Inside the dashboard, you can see your online/offline agents and even initiate an internal chat with them!
  • With Personal statistics you can see performance your own individual metrics like time logged in or tickets answered.
  • Leaderboards are a part of gamification. They make daily work more fun and help to push performance of individual agents as they can compare their performance.

Now Fix it

You’ve acknowledged that there is a problem. You have taken the time to explain it. Now it’s time to actually fix it.

And while doing that, try to make reparations for your customer’s trouble. Offer them something extra. Free drinks at a restaurant. Or some personalized attention after solving the problem. Follow up with a call afterwards to make sure everything went well. Or add a simple closing phrase such as “I am here for you if you need any more help.”

There are many ways how to work your way through a sticky situation. And here is a little bonus tip from us to make your apology even more effective:

Don’t use terms that everybody else uses. Avoid apologies like: “Sorry for the inconvenience.” or even “Sorry for your trouble.” Personalize your apology to the specific situation and show your customer how important they are to you. Work their life into the phrases. Say things such as “I am so sorry you missed your flight” or even “I apologize that our software caused you to lose data.”

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