"You're right, we were wrong". How to take responsibility in relation to customer service

Posted by Susan Smith on

Last week I wrote about customer service and the phrase that Seth Godin advocates, “you’re right, we were wrong.” Here’s a personal story about it.

I got a call just before Christmas from a customer of mine on LooptyHoops. We were driving home from skiing in Vermont (well, I wasn’t skiing but everyone else was) and I got this call from someone, slightly angry who said, “I didn’t get the right earrings in my order. I received a pair of endless hoops without a click-down clasp, and I would have never ordered that!”

My first response to her (as I was thinking to myself, how did THAT happen?) was to say, “I’m really sorry, we made an error.”

I went on to say that I wasn’t sure how it had happened but we will look into it and in the meantime, how can I help her get the pair she wants. She was a little startled, as they say, because the very next thing she said to me was, “Oh, you said it was an error, I like that, and I can accept that! We all make errors!”

After we talked through how it could be fixed and exchanged email addresses so we could communicate directly (she had purchased these through our channel on Amazon, not from our LooptyHoops site), she ended up writing me and telling me that after she looked into it she discovered she HAD ordered the endless hoops and she would keep them and look for others she might like to add to her wardrobe.

So, it works. Take responsibility FIRST. That is, right after the apology. It lets all the steam out of it.



  1. S. It’s easy to feel defensive and that defensive comes across loud and clear to a customer through your words or just your tone or modulation. So you’ve got to really feel that apology and your admission of error. Be sincere. Put yourself in their shoes and let them know how you feel. Then you make a human connection and can restore the relationship.

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