As a subscriber to Business Week magazine, I read in the October 1st issue about the power of apologies. The Nottingham School of Economics just published a study where they studied thousands of disgruntled customers for a specific business type. Their goal was to get the customers to remove negative comments from the web site. For some they offered cash to remove the post. Others received a sincere apology with a request to remove the post. Forty-five percent of those that received the apology removed their comments while only twenty-one percent of those receiving cash did so.
So, which is more valuable, money or good intentions? I think this study helps answer that question.
There have also been several articles in the last year or so talking about how physicians can reduce the risk of a malpractice lawsuit by apologizing. l This is risky because said apology could be used at trial if in fact the case goes to trial. In an attempt to alleviate that problem many states are considering legislation barring physician apologies from evidence. In fact there is some evidence that apologies reduce payments made by malpractice insurers.
I can’t count how many times I have done something stupid in either a personal or a business relationship. When I remember the intent of the action (to deliver value, to expedite an order or to answer my spouses question) and apologize with that intent in mind, I have usually been forgiven. In fact, I would say the relationships are stronger. Why, because the other individual now knows how I will behave when there is a misunderstanding or a problem. And, misunderstandings and problems are a part of life.
A sincere apology is one of those seemingly little things that can make a very large difference. Remember whether you want them to or not, your intentions are showing.
Take good care