Australia’s Commonwealth Ombudsman published a factsheet on how to deliver an effective apology, building on similar work produced by the Victorian and New South Wales Ombudsman.
The factsheet recognises that even the most well-intentioned, professional and efficient organisations can make mistakes, and gives advice about how to communicate with people affected by errors, faults or omissions.
It offers tips about the right time to make an apology (early), what to say (be genuine), and what to avoid saying (anything that tries to evade responsibility).
Providing an effective apology can be empowering and positive for an organisation, and can also resolve a complaint quickly while restoring the relationship with a complainant. On the other hand, providing a poor apology can increase a complainant’s frustration, increase the time and resources needed to resolve the complaint, and damage the relationship in the long term.
Source: Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman, Australia