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Saying Sorry More Often: Why Schools Should

What’s the value of an apology?

A simple sorry can go a long way toward mending a broken relationship or relieving tension.

But did you know an apology can save your schools money too?

New research shows that companies lose billions each year to poor customer service. That’s billions—with a B. (Check out this report from MyCustomer).

Hold on, you say: That’s businesses, not schools. Schools are different.

True. But, not unlike most businesses, schools fight for market share. With charters and other alternative forms of education gaining steam, parents and families have options. When they do choose to leave, they take thousands of dollars in per-pupil funding with them.

If you’ve got serious plans to improve your schools, that funding matters.

Keeping that in mind, here’s why some of the world’s top companies are focused on learning to say sorry—and why your schools should follow suit.

Why apologies matter

U.S. companies lose an estimated $83 billion a year due to poor customer service, reports Chris Ward for MyCustomer.

But simply owning up to, or even fixing, a mistake doesn’t ensure your customers, or your parents and students, will come back with open arms.

Ward cites a study from the Cary School of Business. The study found that just 37 percent of customers are happy when mistakes are fixed (via monetary compensation). That’s compared with 74 percent of customers who are satisfied when an apology is added to some other form of compensation.

In other words, stakeholders don’t just want issues fixed, they want someone to acknowledge what went wrong, and to take responsibility.

Add social media to the mix and it’s easier than ever for stakeholders or community members to voice their displeasure over how situations were handled, or mishandled. Emotions run high, especially when kids are involved.

Why schools should say sorry

That’s why understanding mistakes, identifying solutions, and apologizing needs to be a big part of your school’s communication strategy.

To stay ahead of the competition, schools need to not only share what they’re doing right, but also acknowledge and apologize for what they’ve done wrong.

What steps does your school district take to correct its mistakes? Tell us in the comments.

For more about how to stay competitive in a changing education landscape, read Why your schools are losing market share.