We all make mistakes. Businesses are run by humans and we all can make bad decisions, say the wrong things or let our emotions take control when they shouldn’t. But as countless companies, celebrities and public figures have shown us, an honest and authentic apology can turn a bad situation into a chance for a better future.
Our behavior matters, but so does our response to our own choices. Today, how we react to our own missteps can mean more to our audience than the mistake itself. Audiences are looking for a human element to relate to in both large companies and small businesses. They’re searching for something that’s authentic and honest. With this in mind, we see the opportunity to improve our communication with our audience through a genuine apology and open communication.
As part of your business’s crisis communication plan, develop an outline of what a great apology sounds like and means to your company and your audience.
Understand Actions And Emotions
Apologize for the action itself. Whether it’s an insensitive comment or poor business management, take full responsibility for your mistake and then apologize for the negative emotions and feelings it caused. Remember, your audience is made up of humans; they’re looking for you to admit your mistake and share in their sadness, anger or disappointment. A good apology should not just say “I’m sorry,” it should show that you acknowledge your wrongdoing and are committed to changing for the better.
Be Open To Communication
Once you have taken responsibility for your action(s), be open to listening to your audience’s concerns. We live in a highly connected world that’s focused on transparency and communication. By actively engaging your audience, you are taking control of a sensitive situation and showing you’re open and ready to listen. One-way communication and statements to the press will no longer work. It’s time to unlock the communication channels and start listening to your audience.
Tell Them You Are Sorry And Then Take Action
An important part of showing your regret is taking action to repair your relationships. Develop an action plan to make changes, find the root of your company’s problem and tell your audience how you are going to correct it. Taking action will demonstrate remorse and give your audience a clear view of how you are repairing and improving your relationship with them.
Accepting that mistakes will happen and the ability to admit them when they occur will help you regain respect. We can’t always keep mistakes from happening, but we can control how we deal with them, apologize for them and move forward.
Featured image courtesy of https://cdn.sheknows.com/.