Saying, “I’m sorry,” to customers online isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but it’s almost always the right thing to do.

That’s a lesson a major operator failed to heed a couple weeks back when a mix-up on football odds left customers fuming.

Rather than stepping up and doing the right thingĀ  – issuing a real apology or just paying out the bets – this company chose to saying sorry with a form letter. Not surprisingly, the letter didn’t go over very well with its intended audience.

Had these folks spent a few minutes reading a recent posting on titled, Apology 101: How to Save Your Reputation, by Jean Dion, they could have saved some major headaches.

If you’re ever unfortunate enough to find yourself in a similar situation, here are a few of Dion’s tips you’ll want to remember.

Say it, Mean it, Explain it

Your customers know you and, with any luck, they actually like you. That means they’ll probably be okay with an apology, assuming you actually make one.

So say, “We’re sorry,” and actually mean it. That means saying the actual words; explaining the situation; and ensuring them that it won’t happen again.

Dion also suggest that apologies of this nature include a personal contact they can refer to if they have additional questions. The more personal connections you make with your customers while apologizing, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

Apologies That are Certain to Backfire

An apology that isn’t completely sincere is almost worse than no apology at all, so operators and affiliates need to be very careful that their apologies don’t backfire.

One of the surest ways of turning an apology into a PR disaster is by being overly defensive.

Don’t spend more time than necessary explaining why the mistake was really a big deal; or that it’s up to the customer to read the fine print in the T&C (even if that’s actually the case).

Dion also suggests not rushing into apologies before you know all the details. The last thing you want to do is to issue more apologies than are truly necessary.

Spread the Word

A properly executed apology can actually turn into a PR coup, if played correctly.That means issuing a solid sorry, and letting the world know what a good bunch of folks you are.

So don’t bury your apology in the depths of your blog space, celebrate it out on social media.

Let the world know that your company is the kind of company that both appreciates its customers and makes things right after things go bad.



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