Apologies often are not at the top of a leader's to-do list.
However, faced with challenges such as weather, scheduling, labor
and material availability, and workmanship, roofing contractors can
make mistakes and become exposed to customer dissatisfaction in the
form of complaints or even lawsuits. Justified or not, customers
can go to great lengths to get your attention. How you respond to
them can mean the difference between keeping a customer and
visiting a courtroom.
Apologies are a means of communicating to customers that you
hear them and care about their problems. During the past decade,
the medical field has acknowledged the power of an apology to
reduce liability claims associated with medical errors. The
University of Michigan Health System instituted an apology program
for mistakes in 2002. Since that time, annual attorneys fees have
been cut to one-third of preprogram levels, and lawsuits and
notices of intent to sue have been cut in half.
However, business leaders face special challenges when it comes
to apologies. Apologies can be difficult, humiliating and risky.
Leaders who are expected to appear strong and competent often
believe their reputations are threatened when they make apologies.
Apologies also can encourage legal action when taken as admissions
of guilt. For these reasons, take apologies seriously and
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