StackIdeas is a Malaysian company that develops and sells plugins for the Joomla Content Management System (CMS). Joomla is similar to WordPress, and a plugin is a “program” which adds functionality to Joomla.

As a web designer/developer I used one of their products extensively, EasyBlog, to bolster my clients’ Joomla’s blogging functionality. After struggling with the quality of both the software and the support, I ditched it and looked for an alternative, never to return again.

There are myriad areas this company failed from a customer experience perspective but in this article I’ll focus on one. Excessive apologies, which signal an underlying issue.

Stackideas’ support for its paying customers/subscribers is done via an online support forum. Because the software is poorly documented (another issue) and is buggy (another issue), I’ve had to routinely request support very often it took many days to get a response. I lost track how many times the support staff began their latent responses with “Sorry for late reply to this…”.

Responses beginning with “Sorry for late reply to this…” was used by various Stackideas support staff. It’s as if it was an acceptable response built into their support practice. Just apologize and everything will be OK.

In any business, if we must apologize repeatedly, we need to investigate why we’re apologizing, and fix it.

How do we accomplish this?

We need to ensure our caring staff is observant, aware and trained to identify instances they find themselves repeatedly apologizing to customers.  If frequent apologies exist, it’s valuable feedback signaling an issue with our service or product. There needs to be a quick and clear communication channel to report the issues to the managers/owners for effective resolution.

Apologizing for shortfalls, mishaps or mistakes is good customer service. If apologies are frequent, it’s a clear indication there’s a problem needing attention.

ACE Tip

For Business Owners
 

  • Does your front-line staff know they should report issues hiding behind repeated apologies?
  • Are there clear directions/procedures for reporting the above?

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