Updated: Mar 10
All of us drop the ball from time to time. It's inevitable, and while the offense may have been avoidable, there are just times, especially in business, when the issue is with you. It could be a communication fail, customer service issue, anything.
Being able to apologize, whether in business or life, is a sign of a good communicator. And being a good communicator is a characteristic of good leadership. In business, an apology, done correctly can enhance both reputations and relationships. If done incorrectly, it can make the original mistake worse.
Times where I have found the issue to be with me, I find it best to take 3 actions to remedy the situation.
You know the issue, address is directly, quickly and own it. Acknowledging the issue make the other person feel understood. The wronged party simply wants to know this issue is understood and won't happen again.
2nd: Don't Make Excuses & Keep it Brief
Things happen. Life happens. However giving a bunch of excuses dilute the apology. Keep it brief. Simple words. An apology should be strictly that - an apology, not a bunch of excuses.
3rd: Fix It
Provide a credit to the client, deliver the item and throw in something extra. Give something to the client, BEFORE they ask for it. Its easy to just say "I apologize" and yes, saying the words are important. However an immediate action helps seal the deal. Keep the relationship (if possible) by fixing something you did wrong.