The Science of “Sorry”

2 April 2019


The "service recovery paradox," a known effect in B2C sales is now a proven B2B phenomenon. Simply put, the Service Recovery Paradox says that it is possible to recover from a service failure or problem with a customer in a way that creates even greater customer loyalty and satisfaction than if you never had a service problem.

The scientific underpinnings of this is something called justice theory. Comprised of three types of justice -- distributive (compensation), procedural (responsiveness) and interactional (apology) -- this theory explains how to overcome the disruption and violation of "perceived fairness" caused by a service failure. Specifically, it is interactional justice or the quality and impact of the apology that has been shown to have the greatest impact on the service recovery paradox. In other words, how you say I'm sorry is the main trigger point for whether you positively or negatively affect loyalty after a service failure.

Corporate Visions and Warwick Business School's Nick Lee are conducting research into the most effective apology framework. The elements of a good apology have been tested, but no one has proven the best order for these apology components. In this webcast, Corporate Visions debuts its latest research and resulting sales messaging framework -- "We're Sorry." A tested and science-backed model for apologizing in a way that improves your chances of invoking the service recovery paradox.

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