However, what does it mean if “We’re really good at apologizing” as an experienced leader questioned in a team meeting? An apology is indeed something we each need to be able to give, but it isn't the sort of thing we should become “good” at delivering. You do not have to look further than political or sports figure “apologies” to know what I mean.
Being good at apologizing means we’re not as good at delivering superior service as we could and should be. The focus must be on getting the service delivery right, so that an apology isn't even part of the discussion.
An extension of this conversation is the human tendency to offer excuses. Excuses for things done (or not) is thoughtful avoidance of an apology. Excuses don't acknowledge a breakdown in the first place and shift the blame elsewhere, therefore negating the need for an apology. Offering excuses most certainly results in a customer who loses a degree of trust and loyalty. You can't be really “good at excuses” for long, because the customer will simply find another service provider who doesn't make them.
Get the service right. It's what customers pay for and what we should expect of ourselves at the bare minimum. It's 51% of the customer retention equation; said another way, it's the price of admission to the professional service game.
The other 49% is about Exceeding Expectations, Crystal Clear Communication and Highly Responsive Service; couple this with no excuses and therefore no need for apologies. The result is a formula for success.
So, when an inadvertent service failure occurs, first fix it without offering excuses. Then apologize, but don't make that a habit. If you become good at apologies, it's time to look in the mirror.