How to Say Sorry

“We apologize for any inconveniences this may have caused.”

That is a crappy way to talk to someone. That’s how robots talk, not humans.

Talk, send, or write apologies the same way you would say sorry to a friend. You wouldn’t tell your wife that you “apologize” or use statements like, “Any inconveniences this may have caused.” You would say, “I’m so sorry” – but there is more to an apology than just saying sorry.

When we apologize, for whatever reason, we want to do it with compassion and contrition.

Compassion: “I am sorry your credit card was flagged by our system and you needed to call the credit card company to ok the charge. I understand what a hassle that must have been, and I am sorry."

Compassion means: I understand and feel for you.

Contrition: “Making you call your bank is not the way I should be running our business. I messed up, it's my fault for not improving the system we're using. Even worse, I didn’t do everything I could have to help you find the credit card company’s phone number and get them on the line for you. I'll do better next time.”

Contrition means: I was wrong and I’ve learned from it.

How many companies apologize for their errors (canceled flights, making you wait for appointments or reservations, technology breaking, etc…)?

How many of those companies that do apologize say it like they are people talking to people?

How many of those companies that do give a personal “sorry” say it with compassion and contrition?

Be better than the other companies. Do it the right way, because it’s the right way.

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