You have responded to a customer at a time that is significantly beyond the anticipated response time. Instead of saying, “Sorry for replying late,” try saying, “Thank you for your patience” or “We appreciate your patience.” Instead of apologizing, “I’m sorry, but this thing isn’t working for you,” you might try saying, “We appreciate you bringing this to our attention.” Turning “I’m sorry” into “Thank you” transforms you from regret and shame to gratitude and grace.
How you communicate with your clients can have a significant impact on their overall experience and perception of your enterprise. When something goes wrong, it has long been accepted as a norm to apologize by saying “sorry,” but it might be more powerful and effective to express gratitude by saying “thank you.”
Sometimes, it’s okay to say sorry, but saying “sorry” can make the customer think you did something wrong. This can make the customer focus on the problem instead of your apology. It evokes guilt and can be interpreted as a passive admission of guilt. However, saying ‘thank you’ allows you to shift the narrative and emphasize the positive aspects of the customer’s interaction with you. It creates a connection that exudes positivity and makes everyone feel good. It would help to focus on making customers feel appreciated rather than highlighting errors or faults.
For example, when there’s an issue with one of your products, you could say, “Sorry for the inconvenience caused.” The essence of the message is maintained by changing it to “Thank you for bringing this to our notice.” It also alters its impact, making it more affirmative and cultivating mutual appreciation. When “thank you” replaces “Sorry” it is received more positively than an apology. Thank you conveys that their feedback and concerns are valuable to you and your organization and that you appreciate their input in helping you improve. This shift in focus from the issue to the customer’s value and contribution can foster trust and confidence in the timely and effective resolution of their concerns.
Instead of undermining the essence of apology when there is a genuine mistake, this strategic shift reduces the use of “Sorry” which can dilute its actual significance if overused.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t say “sorry”. Just try not to say it all the time.