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Why Does ‘Sorry’ Seem To Be The Hardest Word?

Photo by Omar Prestwich on Unsplash

As a customer, have you ever complained to a business when all you wanted was the word ‘sorry’ - and you are still waiting?

This happened to me recently; the person I spoke to just went straight into defensive mode. I got excuse after excuse and all I wanted was ‘I am really sorry,’ followed swiftly by ‘and let me sort that out for you.’

I was surprised in speaking to people how often this seems to happen.

But why?

I am only speculating but here is what I came up with: businesses fail to apologise when:


  • There is no complaints process in place.

  • They are not trained in how to deal with a complaint.

  • They are worried that if they say sorry you will expect compensation?

  • Their ego gets in the way.

  • Their service is usually great and they want you to know all the genuine reasons it went wrong this time, so you will not think badly of them:  they just forget to apologise.

  • They just see you as a moaning-minnie who’s stopping them getting on with their proper work!

Do one thing: establish a process for complaints in your business or review the effectiveness of your existing one.

Marianne Page

Marianne Page

Senior ManagementInspirer, Motivator, Simplifier, Creator, High performing Team Builder…and Hugger


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