Somewhere in the past few years it seems like businesses have lost the ability to simply say "sorry" when they get it wrong. Today when a business makes a mistake, they don't actually say the only words that really matter, instead it seems that we can expect every other explanation to come out. It's almost as if the words "I'm sorry" or "we're sorry" are just too hard to utter.

This got me thinking. Why has it suddenly become so hard to utter such simple words? After all, as soon as you apologize, the situation normally begins to diffuse and some constructive action can begin. Surely this must mean that it is in everyone's best interest for someone to apologize quickly.

I wonder if it is because of the litigious world we live in. For a long period of time we've been told that if something goes wrong, never say sorry because you are admitting liability. So if someone orders a hamburger and there is a toe nail in it, you shouldn't say sorry, because you are admitting liability? I think your liability is firmly established with the first mouthful. But of course I'm not a lawyer, so what do I know?

For some reason though, most businesses and in fact most staff (so you have to assume their bosses and managers have directed this) simply won't say sorry. We've all experienced this on a delayed flight. In fact it's hard to get anyone to say anything at an airport these days. What normally evolves is an accusation that whatever is wrong is your fault as the customer, then it progresses to a "that's our policy" tirade and finally the storm off to find someone of authority to come and save the day.

When did we become so arrogant that we couldn't simply offer a form of apology, especially at a time when we know it is well and truly deserved? I think we need to bring back the apology, make it the right thing to do again, regardless of whether it is politically or legally correct. When we make a mistake, or our company lets someone down, let's simply say sorry, mean it and move towards trying to solve the problem.

Maybe it doesn't matter? Who cares if we can say sorry or not? Personally I think it does matter and I think it forms a major part of a businesses brand. We expect a business to be terrible at saying sorry, so if they are really good at it, they win!

I think any business that is good at saying sorry won't have to say it very often. It shows that they don't let their ego get in the way of doing business and their customers will appreciate this.

So my question is, "is your ego stopping you from saying "sorry" and as a result is it costing you a pile of business? And if it is, now is the time to do something about it. Show your customers they matter more than you ego.