As a teen entrepreneur, you’re going to screw up once or twice. It’s inevitable.
Statistically, you don’t have enough experience to do everything right the first time, no matter how hard you want that to happen. It’s nothing to be pissed about, you just learn and move on – everyone has to do it. However, a big part of screwing up is apologizing to the affected party.
I’m sure you see the miserable excuses of apologies that large companies are using right now – just this month, Blizzard butchered out an apology regarding how it handled the situation with Blitzchung. (However, this may be because they don’t want to upset their Chinese overlords.)
Let’s break down a few key points in their apology:
BLIZZARD: The actions that we took over the weekend are causing people to question if we are still committed to these values.
NATHAN: The actions are in blatant violation of their values, and they don’t acknowledge this.
BLIZZARD: Every Voice Matters, (NATHAN: This is one of their values) and we strongly encourage everyone in our community to share their viewpoints in the many places available to express themselves.
BLIZZARD: However, the official broadcast needs to be about the tournament and to be a place where all are welcome. In support of that, we want to keep the official channels focused on the game.
NATHAN: Making hypocritical excuses (an American team pulled the exact same thing, and didn’t receive a punishment until another outcry about why they weren’t punished arose).
BLIZZARD: The specific views expressed by blitzchung were NOT a factor in the decision we made. I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision.
NATHAN: Lying in your apology is a big no-no. China certainly influenced their decision, as seen by the fact that the update they gave to their Chinese players said “As always, we will defend the pride and dignity of China at all costs.”
BLIZZARD: With regard to the casters, remember their purpose is to keep the event focused on the tournament. That didn’t happen here, and we are setting their suspension to six months as well.
NATHAN: The casters had no choice in what blitzchung was going to say – the fact that they’re still punishing them is ridiculous.
— End Of Analysis —
As you can see, that was a very half-assed apology. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it an apology – they didn’t use the words “Sorry” or “Apologize” once.
Here’s the moral of the story: If you fuck up, sooner or later, somebody’s going to talk about it. It might as well be you. Blizzard was silent on this issue for five whole days, and as a result, it was picked up by The New York Times, The Wallstreet Journal, The Verge, Mashable, RD, FOX News, and all of the big news companies.
When you do apologize, make sure you do so in a way that takes full responsibility and lays out an action plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
People will be less pissed off at you because you’ll take responsibility for the issue at hand.
If you don’t respond to something, or even worse, respond badly, it will come back to bite you in the ass, even if it’s as small as a bad review.
People won’t be able to hear your side of the story, and that means they’ll have to make assumptions about your business, your reputation, and your ability to deliver on your product/service.
This will then impact everyone they talk to, everyone who asks for recommendations, and even worse, the reputation
of everyone who’s a fan of your business (“Why do you support such a horrible business!”)
Suck it up, don’t be a little bitch, and just apologize. See what you can do to make it write. It’s 5 minutes of slight discomfort over the reputation of your business.
See you tomorrow for our first long podcast episode!