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« Gil lost his cell phone | Main | Measuring stiffness »

"Sorry"

So, in the NFL, if the coach thinks the ref made a bad call, he can take a risk. He bets a time out and the refs review the tape. If the call was correct, the coach loses the time out. If the call was wrong, he gets it fixed.

You know what's wrong with this system? The referees never apologize. They don't say, "Upon reviewing the tape, we realized that we made a bad call. We're really sorry." In fact, in addition to saying they're sorry, they ought to give the coach a bonus time out as a way of rewarding him for his troubles.

If it's hard to say you're sorry when it's your fault and when there is no money at stake, imagine how hard it is to say you're sorry when neither is true.

And yet, if reading the constant stream of horrible customer service stories that cross my desk every day, that's all anyone wants. A bonus time out, an apology and making it right. It is certainly, without any question at all, the cheapest marketing technique available today. Not to mention one that feels good in the long run. I wrote about this a bit in September, but it's worth a refocus here.

But is an apology sincere?

Well, I can't imagine how the following sentence could be false if uttered by anyone with a conscience, "I'm really sorry about the way you feel. We work really hard and do our best to avoid problems like this, but it's obvious you feel mistreated and I want to fix it. I'm really sorry about all this."

It's cheap, it works, and it's the right thing. So why not do it?*

Ego, power and fear. Three lousy reasons. Time to get over it, come clean and grow.

*The big company readers say, "we have too many people to apologize to" to which I share this note from the founder of Mozy after some wide-scale screw ups:

As some of you may have noticed, the month of December and early January was a challenging time for us. We were overwhelmed by the demand for the Mozy backup service, and had a difficult time keeping up. [...]

So, to try and make up for the problems we've experienced, and to thank you for hanging in there, we like to offer you the follow options:

If you had a really frustrating experience, click here to get 3 months free service added to your account.

If you hit some glitches, but everything mostly worked out for you, click here to get 2 months free service added to your account.

If things went just fine this last month, click here to get 1 month free service added to your account.

But if you'd rather just let us know you're doing okay and you don't need the extra month of free service, click here to let us know.

If you have any questions or feedback, don't hesitate to email me personally. We're here to protect your data - and we thank you for hanging in there during our growing pains.

-josh
Founder, CEO
Mozy.com, Berkeley Data Systems, Inc.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "Sorry":

» How To Enable Comments On Seth Godins Blog from The Internet Entrepreneur
Seth Godin doesnt allow comments on his blog. He has a good explanation about why he doesnt have comments too and I respect his opinion. In fact, often when I want to comment on one if his blogs (I often feel the urge) I look for the comm... [Read More]

» Trained Monkeys from Young-Manager
I recently linked to a post from Seth Godin, and hes inspired me again today. Id like to add apathy to Seths anti-customer service triumvirate of ego, power, and fear. When I experience poor customer service I can u... [Read More]

» Insincere apologies vs. authentic rudeness from ThinkingSparks
After I lived in the USA and came back to Holland I was shocked to see how horribly some Dutch companies treated their customers. Be it in a store, bar, restaurant or call center. Of course this doesn’t apply to [Read More]

» More on Online Reputation Management from siteEDGE agency
Brand Equity is a key concept for many marketers. Big companies spend millions creating the experience of their brand. In the past, maintaining that brand equity wasnt that hard to do - but things have changed. With the advent of ... [Read More]

» Apology or Statement of Regret? from Become Unforgettable
Seth, that is not an apology that is a statement of regret. The supposed apologizer has not admitted doing wrong and has implied that the fault lies with the one who feels mistreated. In point of fact, this might even be considered to be an ACCUSA... [Read More]

» Shop Services from Shop Services
firms were in construction and other services , such as repair. [Read More]

« Gil lost his cell phone | Main | Measuring stiffness »