When most of us mess up, we’re likely to try to hide it from view. Especially in business, we don’t want our customers to know we’ve made a mistake. But sometimes a simple, personalized letter of apology can be a powerful tool to boost sales and cement customer relationships.
In a recent blog post, one Forbes contributor tells the story of how a client used a simple direct mail letter to apologize to hundreds of thousands of customers so well, so sincerely, that the company ended up selling more merchandise than it would have without sending the apology letter.
Why do apology letters work?
1. They make us human. People like to do business with people, not companies. When you apologize for a mistake, especially addressing the person by name and including personal, relevant details to them, it humanizes your company and creates empathy. When done well, it can actually improve the customer relationship.
2. They make us credible. People don’t like to apologize. When a company apologizes, it gets a customer’s attention. That can give you tremendous credibility that can build trust.
2. It gives you an opportunity to make right. Everybody likes when a wrong is made right. Once you’ve got a customer’s attention, a sincere apology letter can turn the mistake into an opportunity to make things right and further cement customer loyalty.
Apologies aren’t for every situation, but when it merits, don’t be afraid to apologize. Keep it simple. Be sincere. Ditch the corporate language and speak from the heart. Do it really, really well, and you just make turn what was once a negative into something really positive.