Should You Ever Say "I'm Sorry"?

The business world is filled with mistakes -- intentional or otherwise -- but kind of light on apologies.

From restaurants to retail, I encounter errors all the time, but "I'm sorry" seems to rarely issue forth from the lips of line staff through folks at the top of the company.

I strongly believe that if you make a mistake in your jewelry making business, you should apologize. It may be that you shipped the wrong item, or that you weren't listening to the prospect, or that their items arrived damaged.

No matter what the problem is, an apology costs you nothing but it buys a lot from your jewelry customers. Among other things:

A good apology acknowledges what went wrong, states clearly that you're sorry, and asks of the customer or prospect what their resolution is.

Many folks skip that last step, but it's an important one. Customers and prospects who feel wronged in some way often just want an apology. Others want a refund, replacement or something else. There's no harm in asking what would make things right in their minds, because most of the time they were thinking of what they wanted anyway.

Avoid cheesy "non-apologies," like "I'm sorry you feel bad," or "I'm sorry that you didn't like what I did."

Those shift responsibility to the other person and, therefore, aren't apologies at all.

If you're not sure the situation warrants an apology, offer a sincere one anyway.

As the punch line to an old Vaudeville joke goes, "it can't hurt."

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