Sh*t happens. It happens in life. It happens in business.

The issue isn’t that things go wrong. They do. The issue is what happens AFTER something goes wrong.

Seth Godin has a great, longer for him, piece talking about what constitutes an apology and how it is we, as a society, have gotten so far removed from true, human apologies. Godin writes:

“Civilization depends on the apology. When humans interact and something goes wrong, the apology builds a bridge that enables us to move forward.”

More so it seems that businesses have lost their ability to genuinely apologize, and more importantly, empathize with their customers. This is due in large part to the automation of so much of the communications between companies and their end users. Godin again:

“The challenge that organizations have is that they haven’t trained, rewarded or permitted their frontline employees to exert emotional labor to create human connection when it’s most needed.”

There is no database entry for “human connection,” “empathy” or “emotional labor.”

Howard Lindzon recently wrote about a real-life example of how the new business culture failed. Lindzon was able to move a sizeable account from a major financial company without a peep. It is a cliche that it is cheaper to keep a customer than to obtain a new one, but the math works. Lindzon writes:

“Everyone in this new digital economy talks about the costs of customer acquisition. It is incredibly important for startups.

I see very few fintech and e-commerce VC’s, ‘experts’, founders, execs and larger company CEO’s focused on customer satisfaction and retention. I am living proof.

While software can do almost anything in 2019, I still think a creative use of digital and analog customer support is the best way to grow and retain customers.”

Humans aren’t in vogue at the moment. In part, because we human beings make decisions based on emotion. Businesses that don’t recognize that fact are fated to keep spending their ad dollars on Google and Facebook in the hopes of replacing customers they lost in the first place.