It’s a bit of a craze these days: “Oops!” email subject lines that purport to apologize for a mistake, when they’re really nothing more than tricks to get you to click. Inside, the messages say something like, “We’re sorry, we sent you the wrong ad yesterday! Please accept 10% off!” Whatever.

But what if a customer points out that your company really did make a mistake? Should you own up to it? A recent post at the Service Untitled blog says “Yes!” and then offers some reasons why it’s best to admit when you slip up:

Customers are sometimes surprised by your honesty. Let’s face it: customers who complain expect an argument. Imagine their pleasant surprise when you say, “Yes, we made a mistake. I apologize for the error.”

Honesty implies accountability. “Accountability tends to be reassuring, especially to customers who were just witness to a mistake/screw-up,” SU notes.

SU also refers to one of its previous posts, which offers how-to tips for mea culpas. Among them:

  • Explain why the mistake happened. (Do not make excuses.)
  • Explain why it won’t happen again.
  • Offer appropriate service credit, compensation, etc.
  • Provide the customer with your direct contact information.
  • Thank the customer for his or her understanding.
  • Follow up in five days with another apology and offer of help.

Just admit it. Nothing serves customers better than a little honesty following a faux pas.

Source: Service Untitled.