career  For those who feel politically incorrect beliefs are taking a downturn, think again. Small business owners (and large) increasingly apologize to their customers for what they think is a failure to meet expectations.

Those expectations are extremely high and before you automatically take your customer’s word for it, delve a little deeper into the issue. As a business leader in your community, are you accepting responsibility for businesses in general? Some members of the public seem to think so.

Acknowledging a mistake means that you believe that the customer was wronged in some way. If redeveloping trust is the issue, then there may be some basis for an apology but if a policy in your business is the problem, an explanation to your customer might be a better idea.

Many of the apologies seen presently are accomplished through public forums and are not necessarily done in faith. Comments made on social media to your small business page may make you feel that you are being forced to agree with something that is against your ethics. If it truly is a mistake, then committing to fixing it and taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again are important.

But what if a customer is asking for something that is outside of your area of expertise, your business scope or just comes across as ridiculous? Businesses are beginning to use apologies as a means of competition. They feel that the more they attempt to appear as though they are helping customers, the better it will be for their business.

Only you know when you’ve made an error and should attempt to correct it. Some situations demand an apology. They are expected and should be immediate. A graceful apology is something that all business owners should be able to handle easily. Admit to your mistake, fix it and move on. Offering a solution as quickly as possible is the best way to retain your customers in this case.

However, the onslaught of continuing apologies for the smallest thing has begun to get out of hand. Never apologize too much or too often. Don’t apologize for the wrong reasons. I also, personally, do not believe in public apologies. If a problem arises and your business is questioned in social media, take the matter aside with the person or company privately. Don’t apologize for someone else. It’s not your place to take the responsibility for the errors of others, be they staff, family or friends.

A good apology always makes the person apologizing feel better as well as the wronged party. Don’t take it too far or ignore the matter. Try not to become involved with every issue that is making the rounds currently. Your customers and your business are your concern. Leave the public issues for everyone else.

© Chris Draper, DemGen Inc. 2015