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Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Corporate Apology

In classical literature, an apology can mean a defense, such as Plato’s Apology. In modern parlance, an apology is known as an expression of genuine sorrow and an acceptance of responsibility for having caused harm to another person. Consumers should be on guard lest a company use the semblance of an apology for marketing purposes.

Robert Bacal advises that an apology be used as a strategy to use “along with other techniques” (italics added, p. 19). According to Bacal (p. 19), “perfunctory or insincere apologies are worse than saying nothing at all.” Accordingly, he advises that a “sincere apology can help calm a customer, particularly when you or your company has made an error. You can apologize on behalf of your company.” However, how can an apology be both sincere and geared to manipulating a customer?

The full essay has been incorporated into (or swallowed up by) On the Arrogance of False Entitlement: A Nietzschean Critique of Business Ethics and Management, available in print and as an ebook at Amazon.


Robert Bacal, Perfect Phrases for Customer Service, 2nd Edition (New York: McGraw Hill, 2011).