I’ve noticed a very interesting trend over the last year; executives are realizing the power of saying I’m sorry. The CEO’s of both Netflix and Apple made formal apologies this year for their missteps. Netflix admitted they did not effectively communicate their price increase and change in business practice to customers. Apple this year also encountered some major backlash with the release of their new mapping software, which was inferior to the Google software it replaced. More recently Instagram came out saying they let their customers down with their new policy involving the intellectual property of their customer’s images. This policy change would have allowed Instagram to profit from the images posted by their customers, a policy that was quickly reversed.
This trend appears to be overflowing to others as I’m seeing more companies come forward, admit their mistakes and tell their customers they’re sorry. Just over the last couple of weeks I received an email from the CEO of my local bank apologizing for their botched rollout of their online banking services. Similarly, Zendesk wrote a heartfelt apology about a recent spat of denial of service attacks against their website. What I found interesting about both of these apologies was they came from top executives in the company, explained the problems that occurred, and outlined a detailed plan to solve their issues.
For me, having the humility to come forward to say you messed up and you’re sorry has the power to heal many wounds. Sure some may not take your apology to heart, or will use your missteps against you, but there are far more people who will accept your apology and realize you’re human.