I recently wrote about how a sincere apology can go a long way to ease customer tensions. And I hold to that truth, but you know what has the opposite impact? Constant apologizing.
You know the drill, and we have all done it – “sorry, but can you make this edit to the presentation?” “Sorry, I hate to ask, but can you call me when you have a chance?” “Sorry for writing such a long email.”
After a while, it loses all meaning, AND it becomes irritating to the recipient. Lately, this has been hitting me with requests that I am obligated and happy to fulfill for clients. (If you are reading this and recently said sorry under these circumstances, this isn’t to you 😉.)
Saying sorry for something that is a regular part of a job makes the request sound like a burden to both sides. I need to hear this as much as I want you to. It is all too easy to drop “sorrys” for nothing.
Did you or your business hurt the other person? Either emotionally or otherwise, accidental or not? That is the litmus test for an apology. Your long email didn’t harm them. Asking your vendor to do the job you pay them for did not hurt them or cause hard feelings. Perhaps if you request something at Midnight, an apology is in order, but not at 3 pm.
Let’s save apologies for when they are genuinely meant and display honest empathy. Reserving an apology when it is genuinely warranted maintains its power as an instrument to refine relationships – and in the end, relationships are what matter.
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When you feel the urge to say “sorry,” make sure it is genuinely something to apologize for and not just a way to make you feel better!