Should You Apologize Online for Poor Service?

The short answer is yes, always. However, it’s important that you don’t overdo it – you want to still come off as a strong, independent, confident business owner who isn’t afraid to own up to his mistakes. Apologizing profusely and going on and on will only serve to solidify the gravity of your mistake and make you look weak.

So, in a nutshell, apologize quickly, invite them to give you another chance, and then move on.

This is true even if you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong – in fact, you may know you did nothing wrong, but the customer is making a stink over something. STILL, you should apologize for their dissatisfaction within admitting wrongdoing. You can do this in a polite, respectful way that doesn’t take all the blame but that pacifies the customer so they know they’re being heard and recognized.

Remember, whatever you say is being seen by countless other people too, and they’re silently forming opinions about your business based on how diplomatically you respond to reviews. Don’t take offense and start a he-said/she-said fight online. This is about the worst thing you can do. You’d even be better off not responding – even though we recommend pretty much always responding to any kind of review.

Take the high road and say you’re sorry. But don’t miss the opportunity to invite them to try you again. And then do all in your power to make sure their next experience is a great one. You need to win them back, and it starts with the review response.

How to Craft a Genuine Apology

It’s not enough to say you’re sorry. Words are empty. You have to make sure it’s a genuine and effective customer service apology. Avoid using language that removes you or your company from responsibility. For example, avoid saying:

  • I am sorry you feel that way.
  • I am sorry that you’re offended.
  • Mistakes were made.
  • It’s unfortunate that things had to turn out this way.

Your apology should have no hint of defensiveness. If you find yourself feeling testy or on-edge, chances are, those emotions will show in your post. It’s important to take a step back and truly listen to what your customer is saying. Instead of issuing a fauxpology, heed these tips:

  • Legitimize your customer’s feelings: You can do this by simply saying “that must have been frustrating for you.”
  • Use affirmations: Phrases like “I see”, “I understand“, and “I hear you” are all great ways to show you know where your customer is coming from.
  • Paraphrase: Another way to make sure you understand the issue is to re-state or clarify it. Try “I’m sorry you are feeling X because we did Y.”
  • Don’t try to “fix it” right away: That will come later. But first, get through the apology.

Taking responsibility shows the customer you’re taking their issue seriously. Even if the problem was not your fault, never forget that you are the face of your company and it’s up to you to take the blame. Apologize on behalf of your team, acknowledge what went wrong, and let your customer know you’ll be fixing it so it doesn’t happen again.

You also have to know the difference between explanations and excuses. An explanation tells the customer why something happened. An excuse deflects blame. If a customer was let down in some way by your company, it’s imperative to tell them where you fell short. Couple your explanation with adequate measures of blame. Then, transparency does not appear as an excuse.

Contact Boost Reviews

We can help you navigate the murky waters of review responses. Generate new positive reviews, pull review scores from all over the Internet, and determine which keywords customers are using when they talk about you. Contact us now.



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