The Apology – an important piece of crisis communications

At the end of the day, we’re all humans – whether CEOs, celebrities or national leaders – and we all make mistakes. Many times crises come from a mistake – but the situation snowballs into something much bigger simply because someone refuses to admit wrongdoing and/or apologize.

I’ve found that most people, especially the general public, are pretty forgiving when receiving an apology.  But the more time goes on, resentment builds – and if you don’t apologize for a mistake quickly and early, you may do even more damage.

I recently read an article that covers some recent apologies that stemmed from some very public gaffes and different perspectives on the action of saying “I’m sorry.”

It also includes six steps to apologizing, which are included below:

6 Simple Steps to Apologize in a Communications Crisis

  • Apologize to victims and families first – privately and publicly.
  • Issue a blanket apology.
  • Have the CEO issue the apology and empower employees to do the same.
  • Keep the channels of communication open – keep restating the apology at every opportunity.
  • Keep the public posted on the progress to solve problem.
  • Restate the company’s intent to take responsibility; fix the problem and do what is right.  In many instances, the problem isn’t very severe.

The takeaway?

Give your team the power to say “I’m sorry” – whether on the phone with an angry customer, responding to a Facebook post from someone who has been waiting for a reply or to someone who has been waiting in line trying to correct an issue.

About Kim

Director of Client Services at Full Circle Public Relations in Greenville, S.C.

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