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Myth 8: An apology is never enough (so we don't do it).

A common myth that drives the behavior of customer-facing employees is: Our customers don't want an apology; they only want some form of personal compensation or concession for mistakes. In many businesses that myth is not only accepted, culturally, but it is an actual business practice to never admit or take responsibility, for fear it would only encourage the customer to feel aggrieved and would somehow later be held against them.

This is almost universally incorrect. In fact, customers repeatedly say that the most powerful thing a firm can do after an error is to admit it—and apologize. However, in order to have the greatest effect, the apology should also be accompanied by assurance that action has been taken to insure the error will not occur again. For example, an apology during the customer interaction, followed by a letter from management that the reason for the mistake has been determined and that corrective measures are now in place, can actually increase loyalty. Customers are often delighted with how a firm responds to and corrects a mistake. Customer defections in those instances were actually less than the defection rate of customers who had experienced no problems at all.

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