How To Say You’re Sorry

    CBS MoneyWatch posted an article on seven ways that apologies should be conducted in business.  Some make a lot of sense to me – others not so much.  For instance, the writer, Tom Searcy, suggests that we don’t apologize nearly enough in business situations.  He believes that apologies “take the energy out of conflicts,” which may be true, but there is a fine line between an expression of sympathy and a condescending “sorry you feel that way.”  Below I have outlined four prominent apologies.  Read through them and discuss.

Apology 1: Netflix Fail

In the fall of 2011, Netflix was in the news for all the wrong reasons. First, CEO Reed Hastings decided to split the business into two unwieldy entities, requiring customers to work harder at accessing their memberships and services.  Then he raised prices.  The move was met with huge negative backlash .  A million customers walked out the door.

Then, under pressure, Hastings caved.  Soon after, he issued a video apology.

 

Check out the SNL video spoof. 

Apology 2: Jetblue is Very Very Sorry

In February of 2007, an ice storm slammed the East Coast, severely disrupting air traffic.  JetBlue came under fire for many customer service missteps, and particularly for not applying common sense to make their passengers more comfortable during a horrible situation (in one story, a girl urinated in her seat during a ground delay due to flight attendants’ strict enforcement of an FAA regulation requiring passengers to stay seated.)

Many consider this a model corporate apology:  Jetblue Apology

Apology 3:  Colgan Air Disaster.  Sorry/Not Sorry. 

This excerpt is from a letter written by Colgan Air executives after the airing of a Frontline special about Colgan Air #3407, which crashed in Buffalo in 2009, killing all on board.  In the final analysis, NTSB reported pilot error and management problems as cause of the crash.

What do you think of Colgan Air after reading this?: letter_colgan_air_safety

Apology 4: A Real Apology – And A Shot In the Arm for Penn State’s Battered Reputation.

Now read “Hey CEOs, THIS is the Right Way to Apologize,” written after Onward State Managing Editor Devon Edwards mistakenly announced Joe Paterno’s death via Twitter.

Sheryl Sandberg: Defending Yourself vs Taking Responsibility

All this talk of apologies leads me back to the words of Sheryl Sandberg.  She seems to advocate taking responsibility, even if the situation is not exactly our fault (the traffic didn’t cause me to be late; I was late because I failed to account for traffic).

Reality is far more gray.  Usually many factors come into play when things go wrong.  The stories that people hear and judge us by are not always the whole truth.

So under what circumstances should we take full responsibility and (publicly or privately) apologize?  And under what circumstances should we try to explain the “whole truth” and defend ourselves?

 

 

 

 

 

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23 thoughts on “How To Say You’re Sorry

  1. The article based on the guidelines of how to make professional apology by Tom Searcy is very helpful and might be very useful in our professional career. It would help to reduce the conflicts that may arise with our co-workers.
    In order to make apologies easy for the reader to understand and fully focus on the apologies, the guidelines include that apologies should be fully separated from other explanations so that the reader does not get confused and misunderstand the apology and also it should take place at a personal level like face to face. If we think the matter requires a discussion, we should avoid being aggressive and just inform that we are open to it. If the discussion takes place, we should allow them to provide their solutions first. These two points will make the readers less aggressive and give less chance to retaliate.
    Lastly, we should definitely forget about the issue as soon as it is resolved and the apology is accepted. We should also try to reduce the chance of making the issue arise in the future. This will help to maintain a stable relationship between us and the co-workers.

  2. I believe that being genuine is the most important aspect of a good apology. The person who is receiving the apology should know exactly why they are being apologized to and should also feel that you are truly sorry about the matter. Apologies are not supposed to be easy. They are meant to be informative and serve as a way to mediate tension. Once an apology is issued, there should be an opportunity for a discussion to end the issue. An apology is insufficient if there is still a problem after discussing the matter.

    It is also important to not be overly apologetic, also. This can make your apology seem less genuine and remove some of your credibility. The person receiving the apology should not feel overwhelmed with sympathy. This could lead to them believing they have leverage over you that could result in them using your own words against you. You should never become the victim after giving an apology.

    The bottom line is that apologies are never easy, however, they are important to every day business. Focusing on the aspects of being genuine and informative will lead to the recipient being open to your message and hopefully finding a resolution.

  3. Apologies are very important not only in business, but in life. We as humans always make mistakes. After you make a mistake, it is important to issue a proper apology in order to make amends for your mistake. Companies such as Wells Fargo has been in the news lately.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/04/somebody-should-go-to-jail-for-wells-fargo-scandal-says-sen-heitkamp.html

    After a scandal of that magnitude, it is important to regain trust with your customer. In the business world, trust equals value. A company has to regain the trust from its consumer, or else the company could potentially have issues.

    I like the Netflix apology. They felt they were not upfront enough with their customer. After justifying their prices going up, they were much more clear in what their intentions were when they raised the price. After hearing that apology, consumers may consider repairing their relationship with Netflix

    I thought the Jet Blue apology was the best of them all. They wrote the entire letter from the point of view of the consumer. They felt the consumers’ frustration, and it showed in their letter. They feel they were not up to their standards in performance, and they want to do everything possible to repair that relationship with their consumer. Most importantly, they did not make excuses and made a promise that felt sincere that they will be much better.

    I thought the Onward State apology was fantastic, just because it was impressive that it came from a 21-year-old student. He wrote a more remorseful apology than some of the biggest companies in the world have written. Every word of his apology felt sincere, as he truly felt bad about the damage he had caused. He probably didn’t have to step down, but he chose to because he wanted to take full responsiblity. It takes a mature person in order to do that.

    In conclusion, it is important to always make sure you are writing apologies from your customers point of view. Your customers are your business, and it is important to make sure you are always righting your wrong.

  4. This post interested me because it seems like every other day there is an issue that a company is apologizing for. Just this week, Dove had an issue with one of their advertisements being called racist. This caused Dove to issue an apology: https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/dove-apologizes-racially-insensitive-facebook-advertisement-n808806

    What is interesting to me, is that the two apologies praised for being well thought out and executed are the JetBlue and Onward State. These apologies are similar to one another. Both take responsibility for the actions, and understand the issue and its results. Both also speak to values of the company and of the reader. They understand why the reader is upset with the company. Dove does these things in their apology issues on twitter. They take responsibility for the misinterpretation of the ad and speaks to their values of diversity. Also, all apologies express sentiments for future remediation. All of the apologies considered “well executed” have a common aspect: they write with the audience in mind.

  5. In situations such as these, where the scope of the situation is so large and the amount of people affected is in the millions, I believe it is best for the people responsible to take full responsibility. Reading through these apologies, it is easy to tell who is sincere and who is not just by how they make you feel.

    After reading the JetBlue and the Onward State apology, I could tell it was sincere because of the tone and language they used. They took full responsibility and blame for their actions and didn’t try to put any of the blame on anyone else.

    JetBlue made no attempt to make excuses for their missteps, and did not try to put any blame on their passengers or the storm or anyone besides themselves. Not only that, they created a customer Bill of Rights and informed their customers that they took actions to better prepare for future situations such as these. Devon from Onward State apologized for his mistake, and did not try to blame media outlets for not fact-checking his information.

    Looking at the Colgan Air apology, you can tell it is not sincere. In fact, it is not really an apology. There is no mention of being sorry about the accident, but rather just accusations against the people who made the documentary and against former employees who were upset with the situation. Reading this apology actually made me angry, and I could not believe that they would issue this letter regarding an incident where many people died.

    In today’s world, where everything goes to the Internet immediately, it is important for people to be wary of what they say, but to also be genuine. It is clear from looking at these apologies those who actually felt remorse for what they did (JetBlue and Onward State), and those who tried to blame others and didn’t make any attempt at reconciliation (Netflix and Colgan Air). A good apology vs. a bad apology can affect your reputation and your business, and it is always better to go with the option where you take responsibility and try to make amends, like with JetBlue and Onward State.

  6. The topic of business apology is filled with gray areas. While many consider the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways to apologize, the rules have never been set in stone. It seems to me that the way we judge the quality of an apology is based on the response it gets.

    The fault in that is that people will often respond differently to the same apology. Even in the Netflix example, while it was widely criticized and mocked, there were still examples and responses from people who appreciated the effort. Meanwhile, while the article on Onward PSU’s twitter fiasco regards the apology as the “Right way to Apologize”, I’d personally consider the action taken to be a bit too heavy-handed and think that applying this in all situations would not be practical in the least.

    Then there’s arguments over how to take blame, or if any blame should be taken at all. Several sources suggest that even if it isn’t entirely your fault, a person needs to be prepared to take the entire blame for an incident rather than playing what once source referred to as ‘blame fractions’. While I agree that precious time can only be wasted by figuring out what degree of blame should go where, I wouldn’t consider taking all the blame personally to be a wise practice in the long run.

    What I can agree with, and what most of the articles all seem to agree on, is that apologies in business writing are necessary. In the past, there were many reasons a company would not apologize for their actions, the greatest of which was that it made them appear weak or foolish. But in our current age of near-instant communication transfer and heavy scrutiny of every corporate action under the public microscope, not apologizing is often more dangerous than a poor one. Excepting the most rage-induced and emotionally charged examples we’ve observed in class, I would consider every apology I’ve seen in this class to be somewhat effective when compared to the public response when a company chooses instead to stay silent.

  7. The corporate apology letters contained in this blog are so different from each other it is difficult to comprehend how major corporations could come up with such different approaches. The Netflix apology actually seems genuine. The two CEOs clearly state that they take responsibility for miss informing their customers and apologize for the inconvenience it may have caused. They not only address the problem, they explain why it happened and how it will be avoided in the future. The JetBlue apology fails to take responsibility for the events. They apologize for the inconvenience and claim that aspects of the ordeal were unacceptable, but ultimately they blame the weather for what occurred. They don’t say, We’re sorry we did not consider contingencies for weather storms. The apology fails to fully acknowledge what the companies role was, and they state they are fixing the issue however their new bill of rights does not fix any of the problems, it only compensates customers with small rebates for company shortcomings. For example, they offer 50$ if your plane is delayed on arrival by a minimum of 3-3:59 hours. Finally, the article from the second airline takes virtually no responsibility and blames inconsistencies in media reporting for a poor portrayal of the company. This apology seems ingenuine from the beginning.

  8. Reading the Colgan “apology” was a little difficult. It took a large position on defense of the company, which in a situation where death was involved seems a little inappropriate. Sincerity speaks volumes, and the letter released simply did not have that effect on me.

    That being said, JetBlue’s apology seemed a lot more sincere and professional towards those reading it. They laid out where they would go from their mistake and what customers could expect. The different types of apologies will create your vision of that companies’ integrity and what comes first.

    When it comes to the way the Penn State student apologized, it really shows his complete way of taking responsibility for his actions. Being just a student, and not a full blown professional in his field, he admits to his wrongdoing and makes an open apology in which he address’s those individuals majorly affected. I think by openly addressing those individuals he created a strong following of people who would forgive his mistake.

    All in all, we are humans and we make mistakes. But, it is how you recover from those mistakes that speaks volumes and has a lasting effect.

  9. I strongly believe that a sincere and heartfelt apology is the best method to showing the public how sorry you truly are. Regardless of whether it’s a person, company, or any other organization, nothing speaks greater than being genuine.
    Colgan Air’s apology was much more technical and was more of a defense of the company rather than an apology to customers. Not once was there a blatant “I’m sorry,” which is what many customers would have been looking for.
    I can see why JetBlue’s and Onward State’s apologies were seen as good examples of a corporate apology. For JetBlue, A company needs to focus on the needs of its customers and making their experience the best it can be as well as following through on the company’s promised experience. The letter included the steps that JetBlue would take to improve its services so that this type of incidence would not occur again, which is important for future operations. Compensation is another important aspect that JetBlue covered, and what was on most unsatisfied customers’ minds.
    For Onward State, the writer’s emotions were clear and heartfelt, and it would be difficult to no even feel bad for his simple mistake, even if it was about something so important.
    This article offers more examples of corporate apologies as well as instances when a corporation may not need to apologize versus when they should: http://fortune.com/2015/10/26/corporate-apologies-crisis-management/

  10. How to Say Sorry:

    All of us have made mistakes, it is inevitable as human beings, it is how we learn. However, many people handle their mistakes differently. In these instances, they all had common themes and followed the same road map of an affective, professional apology. In the Netflix, JetBlue, Colgan Air and Onward State apologies sorrow was the main opening theme. It is important that the company sympathizes with the customer and acknowledges they have done something wrong. All of these companies apologized in a professional manner and acknowledged that human error is a reality.

    Some other commonalities include admission to failure. All of these companies owned up to what they did and took the responsibility and consequences of their actions. They also were all sincere and kept repeating the word “sorry” many times throughout their apologizes. At the end of each apology the companies began to restate their value and affirm their loyalty to the customer. This is done to try to keep core customers. What I enjoyed about the Netflix and JetBlue apologies was that they included videos. This gave you an opportunity to see facial expressions and hear actual tones of the person apologizing. In a sense it is more personable than sitting behind a screen and sending an e-mail. These companies need to ensure to the customer that these issues will not happen again and that they have made a change since the mistake occurred.

  11. It is always hard to apologize and even harder to find a way to do it when you are the CEO of a big company. I am going to comment individually on the apologies.

    Netflix-

    The opener is very impressive since I believe that no one expected such an honest and no business talk apologize. I agree with this apologize because it made me feel like people behind a CEO desk are also humans and can make mistakes. It was very well written on a conversational tone always explaining why changes and the split between the two services had to be made and were necessary. The message was loud and clear that Netflix care about their costumers, that he was deeply sorry making people upset but not for separating the two services. I think the message was effective and calmed many customers. After I read the message, I thought that Reed Hastings didn’t mind about offering a sincere apology and showed humility while at the same time promoted the new upcoming DVD service.

    JetBlue-

    When David said embarrassed on the first sentence I think it was a poor word choice since he is not being humble to the people below him. When he said that last week was the worst of their history he is trying to pretend like this was an accident and before this event the company has never made a single mistake. I think this is not accepting responsibility for a bad service and instead blaming the winter ice storm. After that he can say a thousand times he is sorry but will not cause any deeper effect on the reader since I didn’t feel any connection to the author while he said he is sorry. Apologies are about feeling them sincere.

    Colgan Air-

    At the end of the message it says “sincerely” followed by three signatures and I believe that this apology was not sincere at all. It doesn’t take any responsibility and is written so long on a tone that is really boring. I felt like someone carefully wrote this for those three important people to sign. The message was very hard to understand so it failed clarity, and effectiveness on calming angry employees in this case.

    Onward State-

    This is the best apology from all with no question. There is not much to say about it but this kid showed what being a grown up man means. He took full responsibility for his actions without blaming anyone else. This showed humility and character to step up when you screwed up. About him stepping down from office made a statement that by doing so he is willing to pay for the consequences for not being accurate on the latest posts. Great apology. I would have forgiven him.

  12. I think under all circumstances, one should take full responsibility in apologizing. In the JetBlue apology letter regarding the poor service provided during the winter storm, they say, “Last week was the worst operational week in JetBlue’s seven-year history.” By calling this specific instance “the worst”, it sounds to me as if they do not consider this to be a part of them. If they did it, it’s theirs. By qualifying this inconvenience as a rarity, they are excusing themselves. Instead, I would prefer to see an apology, discussion of compensation, and proof of how future incidents will be prevented. Qualifying the incident being apologized for diminishes the sincerity.
    Much of business is psychological. One must appeal to the human psyche to retain business. I thought this article on how to apologize to a woman shed an interesting perspective to the corporate apologizing how-to. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/divorce-grownups/200903/how-apologize-woman
    Note that the LAST step is to seek forgiveness. I feel like in many of these corporate apologies, the first step is to seek forgiveness, as if they’re desperately seeking to keep profits and customers.

  13. After I reading the Netflix letter, I feel learning how to write is really important. The Netflix CEO’s letter does not deliver a clear and good apology to their customers; I feel his writing skills are even worse than some college students.

    In the beginning, for writing apologizes in the business world, I think the most important thing is to understand the audience. In my opinion, audiences do not want apologizes. They want to get advantages, which is what the business will to do for the next step and see if the company has a responsible attitude to face the problem. However, after reading the article, “I am Sorry: How to Write a Business Apology Letter,” written by Mary Cullen, I changed my point of view. Apology is important for businesses because it is the way to show businesses’ responsibility for situations. Also, a good apology means businesses care about their customers.

    All in all, writing is an important method to deliver the message in modern society. It is also kind of an art. People need to carefully pick words, tactics and orders to write in order to deliver different kinds of messages, such as bad news, good news, and apologizes.

    Link: I am Sorry: How to Write a Business Apology Letter
    http://www.instructionalsolutions.com/blog/bid/61944/I-Am-Sorry-How-to-Write-a-Business-Apology-Letter

  14. When viewing the title, “How To Say You’re Sorry” for the first time, I couldn’t help but think how easy it should be to issue an apology in a business context. But, after reading the blog, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Writing an apology takes finesse and creativity not to give rise to negative backlash. Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, showed his creativity in connecting with customers by using conversational language. For example, in the first line Hastings says, “I owe you an explanation.” and then at the end of the first paragraph he says, “Let me explain what we are doing.” Both these examples define the conversational tone intended.

    The beauty of apology letters is the flexibility in the language that can be used. But, some CEO’s especially, have issued apologies with slight defects. In the article attached below, the author describes a few apology letters and the end result when released to the public. One that stuck out to me was a line by BP executive, Tony Hayward, on the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. Hayward said, “There’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I would like my life back.” Hayward was viewed very negatively by the public because his focus was not on the impact of the environment or those who died because of the event, but his own life. An executive like Hayward should maintain focus and language specifically on what they can do for those reading the apology letter and leave out personal matters.

    Article: http://fortune.com/2015/10/09/vw-isnt-alone-here-are-some-of-the-worst-ceo-apologies/

  15. As a Netflix user myself, I found this letter very strange. Like you stated it was a “slow build from though to thought.” Yes, I understand the message of apology Reed Hastings is trying to portray, but I have a lot of ADHD. I attempted to read it and had to stop when I got to the point of AOL dialup I had to memories of the horrific dialup connection sound and sight. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1UY7eDRXrs)

    After taking a moment to recollect my attention to the bigger picture, I resumed. Once again I lost track after a few short paragraphs. I feel as though I was reading a bunch of nonsense and just waiting for the main points. I believe anyone could have written a more concise and sincere apology, in addition to keeping the same talking points and message.

    Previously in my Supply Chain courses, I learned about Netflix’s supply chain and it is very complicated to provide new releases for subscribers, especially when there is no time constraint for returning the DVD. Making “Qwikster” makes sense; I just believe the message could have been clear and formal.

  16. While the beginning of the Netflix letter deterred me a bit, overall I can still think of the company as a respected one. Would it reassure angry customers? Not entirely sure just because of the “aw shucks” language choices. However, as a calmer reader, I can appreciate the letter much more wholly than the latter Onward State.

    An apology is good, but excessively repeating how sorry you are honestly just looks… bad. I appreciate the sincerity of the writer’s emotions but when you repeat the apology in every single paragraph it gets to be too much! And for him to step down from his position after the fall also leaves his dignity to squander in the bottom of that trench. It might be the last time I ever hear the name Devon Edwards and the final (and to some, the only) impression I have is a guy who made a mistake and used the last of his pride to say nothing more than how wrong he was. I’m not saying that’s entirely a bad move in itself but rather, I can better respect a person who still sounds like he believes in himself after a mistake.

  17. The current of feedback over these two apology letters seems to revolve around who did the better job: our Netflix CEO, or editor of OnwardState. In all this, I want to propose just one slight- if not, controversial- departure: there was no ‘right’, or ‘wrong’ here, rather, a simple difference of style between the formalities of entrepreneurship and news reporting.

    Media and news reporting- whatever it may be criticized as today- still owes its fundamentals to at least a basic element of truth. It flows through the ethics of journalism (a previous major of mine) and is consistently searched for by an ever growing audience in the First World. In all this, Onward State managing editor Devon Edwards acted remarkably in assuming responsibility and even taking the brutal course of self-termination because of the scope of such a sensitive situation that involved massive coverage at the time. Edwards acted to the occasion- and that’s just it: the PARTICULAR occasion.

    Entrepreneurship, on the other hand, amounts to a whole different animal. Chief Executive Officers, who already deal with a myriad of painstaking company management tasks, hold a position where they act in the best interests of their organizations at their own discretion. Although Mr. Hastings did ultimately displease a lot of customers with his initial business plans, we see a more than sufficient enough apology and retraction of practices which consumers should have settled.

    He agreed to keeping the price same and stuck to his core beliefs that the introduction of Qwikster hand-in-hand with a different streaming platform would revolutionize the Netflix brand name and keep it competitive in the job market. These interests act well compared to the fact that corporations fall into strategic obsolescence all the time and either get eaten up by a larger, fresher institution, or simply fade into disastrous dissolution. I believe Hastings acted well as first a rational business tactician and then as an owner reaching out to his clients.

    We must realize that although the medium of communications has separated humans with a digital screen, that there is an appropriate setting and tone for a myriad of business occasions. Edwards owed a more wholesome point of accountability to his clients, and responded to such failure with a corresponding level of responsibility. Hastings could very well have kept his business plans intact, most likely hurting the company yes, but perhaps keeping it moving long-term (we may never know for sure). Instead, he crafted a very clever two-bit apology and explanation which worked to a persuasive element- on that worked to keep the client base of Netflix engaged and enthusiastic.

  18. After reading both of the articles, in my opinion, it was kind of a shame that a college student was able to own up for a mistake and address the problem better than a CEO of a major company. I am aware that apologizes can be delivered different ways, but there is definitely more effective ways than others to make sure that your message gets across. There are many factors that effect the style of the letter but by the end the audience should understand the message being expressed.

    Onward State’s managing editor, Devon Edwards, addresses the problem right away and admits that he is wrong. He is sincere and makes a strong connection with his audience. He apologizes and even takes further steps than what it needed by deciding to step down and shows that he will accept the consequences. I almost felt bad for him while reading this because I remember the event happening and he is so truthful.

    Mr. Hastings on the other hand basically gives an excuse in the beginning as to why he is taking the actions to split the company and raise prices rather than a straight explanation or apology. It sounds a bit like he is doing what is best for the company and then trying to convince the audience that it is therefore best for them. He does a poor job of making personal connections as well.

  19. After reading both the Onward State Managing Editor Devon Edwards and Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings apology messages, there is a clear distinction in the sincerity of each. While both were clearly making an attempt to clear up the wrong doing, it is much easier to accept the Onward State’s rationalization.

    Netflix CEO Mr. Hasting does make it clear in his first paragraph that a mistake was clearly made. Although his apology is present, he continues his message with a list of excuses for the error. After Netflix had made the changes to their business, their customers were clearly upset and wanted answers. He goes into great detail in an attempt to rationalize why the changes were being made. It almost seemed as if he did not feel that there was a need for an apology letter, rather just a need to explain to those who felt duped. Whether this was a necessary change to the structure of Netflix or not, Mr. Hasting should have made a better effort to satisfy the hurt customers with a sincere apology rather then attempting to prove that the change was needed.

    Devon Edwards, managing editor for Onward State, on the other made it clear that he was more then sorry for what was written about Joe Pa’s death. He went as far as to resign from his position in order to show his grief for the wrongdoing. He continued to apologize through the whole message rather then trying to justify why these tweets were posted to soon. I could feel the sincerity in the writing in Devon Edwards case, which was not present in Mr. Hastings apology.

    Although both cases are different in the severity level, there is still the same need for a quality apology in each case. When reading Devon Edwards message, I felt more compelled to believe that it was a mistake and there is actual sorrow for what had been posted. With Mr. Hasting’s, I felt more upset with each excuse I read going through the whole letter. I feel that Devon Edwards did a great job creating a professional persona while Mr. Hasting did quite the opposite.

  20. How does the message work for (or against) creating a professional persona – one where Mr. Hastings is shown to be cooperative, moderate, fair-minded and modest? How effective do you think a message like this can be at assuaging angry customers? What do you think of Netflix (and Reed Hastings) after reading this message?

    The message sent by Mr. Hastings on behalf of his company works for creating a professional persona (in this case). Mr. Hastings is the CEO of a major company and that alone carries a professional persona. He is able to be down-to-earth and informal in this letter because of the nature of his work. If Mr. Hastings were a Wall Street executive, this apology would be entirely unprofessional. However, he works for a website that is mostly internet-based and is held to more relaxed professional standards. By being personal, Mr. Hastings does in-fact come off as moderate and fair minded. He does apologize, and while he does not necessarily make amends for his mistake, he does provide the explanation that he should have in the first place. It would be unfair for users to expect Mr. Hastings to reverse his vision for the company, and at least here they get an explanation for his actions. He could have just as easily not sent an email. Perhaps I am biased because I entirely agree with Mr. Hastings business decision and I believe it placed Netflix in the exact position they need to be for the future, they will not be the next Blockbuster because of his actions.

    Devon Edwards on the other hand, came off as entirely sincere and remorseful. The mistake Devon made was inexcusable and indefensible, and he knew that wholeheartedly. His apology should be an example of how to apologize for all of us. His character as a man bled into his writing, and there is no doubt he meant every word he said. His actions of stepping down only added to the credibility of his apology. While these two letters are very different, Devon Edwards’ letter screams APOLOGY while Mr. Hastings’ letter screams DEFENSE.

  21. After reading both articles, it’s clear that apologies can take various forms and can be interpreted different ways by different people. In the case of Netflix’s apology letter, it felt rather insincere and half-hearted. In my opinion, Reed Hastings was merely offering an explanation for his actions, not an apology for his mistake. I thought the letter was his attempt to evade responsibility for the mishap and a way for him to promote Netflix’s brand image.

    In regards to the apology letter written by Devon Edwards of Onward State, I thought his form of communication was much more effective in achieving forgiveness. He asked not for sympathy but for understanding, accepting any and all responsibility for the unfortunate mistake made on behalf of Onward State’s staff. As I was reading the article, I could almost picture this young man in front of me—tears in his eyes, hands shaking and his heart aching as he read to me, for the first and last time, his apology letter.

    Although both messages required different methods of approach, an apology is only as good as the actions you put behind it. Whereas Reed Hastings offered a simple explanation, Devon Edwards resigned in an effort to save the image of the website that he helped create.

  22. Now reading both the Onward State and Netflix apology letters there are huge differences in both the cases. What Onward State made a mistake was something related to an emotional level to a lot of people, which required a person like Devon Edwards to really put down his emotions and show his care for the people who that news has effected as it widespread publicly. It is a sensitive topic, and Devon Edwards stood up for what he meant by taking full responsibility.
    However, the Netflix case was completely different. In this scenario, Netflix did mess up, as Mr. Hastings himself says in his apology letter. But it did not seem as much of an apology letter as much as looked like a form to market and brand its new services. Marketing requires for a company to really give the customers what they need, and even though they realized that splitting up the company was not the way to go, Netflix is a an entertainment company, hence the tone being a little casual makes it okay, however, the apology definitely isn’t sincere and this letter has been used as a marketing platform for the mistakes that the company was going to make anyway.

  23. This message ultimately works against Netflix’s goal of creating a professional persona. Hastings clearly states in the beginning of the letter that he messed up, but he doesn’t actually do anything to fix it. Rather than offering a sincere apology and making things right, he focuses on persuading his customers why this new way is the better way. Although some customers may be satisfied with the company’s split because it will be cheaper if they only wish to purchase one, the majority of the customers were still angry. For those customers who want both, they feel that they will be paying more money for less things. They will also be forced to deal with two companies with two separate credit card charges and two different websites with two different logins. This complicates things far too much, which is a major reason why so many customers ended their subscription with Netflix.

    After reading the apology written by Onward State’s Managing Editor, it was even more clear that Mr. Hastings letter was not sincere. Devon Edwards made a mistake and then took full responsibility for his actions and stepped down from his position to try to make things right. Mr. Hastings, on the other hand, was only looking out for his own best interest. He felt the negative backlash of his decision to create Qwikster, so his sent out an insincere apology in an attempt to rebuild is reputation. If he had his customer’s best interest at heart, then he would have revoked his decision to split the company and kept DVD by mail and streaming under a single company.

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