“Well written and an interesting perspective.” Clan Rossi --- “Your article is too good about Japanese business pushing nuclear power.” Consulting Group --- “Thank you for the article. It was quite useful for me to wrap up things quickly and effectively.” Taylor Johnson, Credit Union Lobby Management --- “Great information! I love your blog! You always post interesting things!” Jonathan N.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Nietzschean Critique of Customer Service (Oh, Yeah!)

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. According to Business Ethics for Dummies, corporate apologies should be sincere, as soon as possible, and be coupled with a correction to the problem.[1] Consumers should be on guard lest a company use the semblance of an apology for marketing purposes, and, more generally, to manipulate, which in itself belies the “apology.” Robert Bacal advises that an apology be used as a strategy to use “along with other techniques.”[2] An apology as a technique in a strategy is a means, and thus as such it harbors ulterior motives. This invites “perfunctory or insincere apologies,” which are “worse than saying nothing at all.”[3] Even a sincere apology as a means to get something suffers from ulterior motives. For example, Bacal 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.”[4]  A sincere apology is mutually exclusive with an ulterior motive, especially one that is self-beneficial in some way; the orientation must be to the error.  The manager who wants to give the impression of an apology in order to disarm the aggrieved customer therefore falls short, for such manipulation eclipses genuine sorrow.


See also the non-duplicate section on apologies in ch. 4 of On the Arrogance of False Entitlement: A Nietzschean Critique of Business Ethics and Management, available in print and as an ebook at Amazon.



1. Norman Bowie and Meg Schneider, Business Ethics for Dummies (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2011), 239.
2. Robert Bacal, Perfect Phrases for Customer Service, 2nd Edition (New York: McGraw Hill, 2011), 19. Italics added.
3. Robert Bacal, Perfect Phrases for Customer Service, 2nd Edition (New York: McGraw Hill, 2011), 19.
4. Robert Bacal, Perfect Phrases for Customer Service, 2nd Edition (New York: McGraw Hill, 2011), 19.