No apology required

20May08

Last weekend, I took a walking tour of several Chicago landmarks that were all designed by a local architectural firm. The event concluded with a tour of the firm’s headquarters, which were quite impressive. However, one thing about the office tour surprised me: they began the session by apologizing for their floor design, treating it like an eyesore that they were ashamed of.

Apparently, the company’s suite was once occupied by a telecommunications firm, so all the floors were raised to make room for data wiring underneath. And to provide easy access to each area of the floor, the top layer was constructed of tiles that can be removed by taking out a few screws. Some rooms had carpeted tiles and others used a rubber and metal material, but the overall look was quite contemporary. Ironically, I’d say the floor added to the design of the space, rather than taking away from it.

My point here is that it’s rarely necessary to apologize in advance just because there’s something quirky about your company or product. Unless this difference prevents you from meeting customer expectations, you should embrace it rather than being ashamed of it. Stop apologizing in advance for these sort of things, and customers might even think the differences were put there on purpose to reinforce your unique personality as a company.



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