Issuing a Sincere Apology


It seems that every day there is another story of a company caught in an unfortunate and, oftentimes, detrimental PR crisis. While it’s important to know how to resolve issues, it’s equally vital to know how to keep your company’s reputation intact.

The best tool to have in your toolkit is how to craft the right apology. Since childhood, proper apologies have been drilled into our heads but as toddlers grow to become leaders, it can feel like we have forgotten.

Crafting an apology does not have to be hard or emotional but it does have to be meaningful. Here are 5 tips to consider when issuing an apology that will help positively define the future of your organization.

Provide a Path Forward

Most companies encounter a situation that impacts public perception. Whether it’s involving slow delivery times or as serious as your corporate values, the best way to prove that leadership listens and learns from stakeholders is by giving a “what next” statement. Clearly outline what changes your organization will make to ensure the crisis doesn’t happen again. Point the audience toward comprehensive new policies or ideas that your company will institute moving forward.

 Take Responsibility

When you point one finger, you may find three pointing back at you. The best way to quickly resolve an issue and get a company on the fast track to recovery is to make sure you never sidestep an issue and you quickly take responsibility. Conveying that you understand and care more about the damage done to others, instead of your brand’s reputation, is critical.

 Respond Quickly and Thoughtfully

The moment you hear of a crisis situation should be the moment you begin your management plan. Never waste time by pushing problems aside. Don’t let the news cycle speak for you. Be the first up to the plate to offer a thoughtful, sincere, and non-defensive apology.

Don’t Lie  

This should go without saying, but strangely it seems to be the one crisis management technique executives decide against. Do not forget that if a company’s scandal is big enough to may headlines or even start a discussion online, there will be people out there ready to dig up any information disproving any further credibility. Be transparent as possible when addressing the issue. Lying or misleading the public will create distrust and diminish credibility.

Learn from Others

It’s both unfortunate and tremendously useful that so many companies find themselves caught in crisis scenarios. It can be difficult to witness colleagues undergo public scrutiny, but these instances can be used to inform your company’s strategy. Conduct research into peer company’s history and identify points at which their recovering strategy could be improved or built upon. Look to industry leaders who have successfully navigated a public apology.

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X-SageJim McIntyre