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When was the last time you apologized, and really meant it?
Knowing how and when to say “I’m sorry” can be hard for anyone, but especially for a company in the limelight after a crisis. But an effective post-crisis apology can play a pivotal role in how quickly or efficiently your organization can move forward. Sometimes how your company responds to a crisis is more memorable than the crisis itself – so you’ll want to make sure your apology is professional, authentic and leaves the right impression.
Respond in a Timely Manner
Don’t wait weeks to provide a formal apology. While it might seem like the easiest option is to ignore the problem and hope it disappears, this delay in vital communication only allows dissatisfaction to persist and grow. A timely apology, as soon as the issue becomes apparent, shows that your company is engaged, prepared and cares about its customers. Further, it enables you to get back to business as swiftly as possible.
Be Specific About What You’re Apologizing For
When issuing a company apology, don’t dance around the issue at hand. Your customers are smart, and they’ll be able to tell immediately if you’re inauthentic or unspecific. Moreover, they may be eager to share their frustration on social media networks, digging your hole even deeper. It’s best to eliminate “the fluff” and get to the point. Be concise and straightforward about exactly what you’re apologizing for, and your customers will appreciate the transparency.
Avoid “I’m Sorry, But…”
Have you ever received an apology from someone, and they follow up “I’m sorry” with some long-winded excuse, slyly shifting the blame elsewhere? Sure makes it feel a lot less genuine, doesn’t it? The same goes for your company apology. The best apologies aren’t accompanied by an excuse. Express your remorse for what has happened and take full responsibility for your company’s actions.
Share Your Corrective Actions
Show your customers that actions speak louder than words and explain what your company is doing to prevent the situation from happening again. Not only may you give customers peace-of-mind and reassurance in the value of your products and/or services, you will mitigate additional brand damage, saving time, money, resources and a heck of a lot of stress.
Establish a Preventative Plan
Now, it’s time to move forward. Implement corrective actions, including any operational or workforce adjustments, and examine your post-crisis communication strategy to prevent future events. This is also an opportunity to hone your company’s messaging framework, build cohesion and trust among your internal team and refocus your marketing and PR efforts.
Never dismiss a crisis or simply hope it will pass. Whenever warranted, craft an apology that is reassuring, professional and genuine. Collaborating with an experienced PR team can help you develop a public apology that communicates quickly and effectively with key audiences – even during these tense moments – and build a plan to move forward.