Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: jpcher on May 02, 2013, 05:39:39 PM

Title: "Sorry! You got lost in the shuffle."
Post by: jpcher on May 02, 2013, 05:39:39 PM
I'm betting this is not a polite way to apologize to someone when, in fact, their request was lost in the shuffle.

I feel that I owe Lynn an apology, but I'm not quite sure how to phrase it.

Lynn works for my company in a different building/state. We've always been able to accommodate her requests in a timely manner.

This past request was a bit out of normal procedures so I had to go through the channels (Boss, BigBoss who had meetings with her boss, etc.) and once everything was decided she sent a new request to Boss and CC'd me.

In the major crazy busy of the last 2 weeks, I thought Boss was going to handle it, or at the very least explain to me what needed to be done. Boss though I knew what was going on and that I would handle it. Neither one of us followed up with the other. ::)

So, yeah, Lynn's request was lost in the shuffle.

Boss received an e-mail from her today (I was CC'd) asking what was up and explaining the now dire need for her request to be completed. Boss called me and asked me about it, I explained, she apologized to me, I apologized to Boss and then I got busy in order to take care of Lynn's request.



I sent the files off to Lynn with a simple "Sorry it took so long, but here's everything you asked for. If you need anything else, please let me know."

Is that good enough? I wanted to say something like "I wasn't ignoring you, honest!" or "It's been crazy busy here!" or "My apologies, I never received the final word on the outcomes of the meetings."


How would you politely apologize to someone when they get lost in the shuffle?




Title: Re: "Sorry! You got lost in the shuffle."
Post by: kckgirl on May 02, 2013, 05:55:48 PM
I think the note you wrote is perfect as is.
Title: Re: "Sorry! You got lost in the shuffle."
Post by: White Lotus on May 02, 2013, 05:58:35 PM
Agree.  What you said was fine.
Title: Re: "Sorry! You got lost in the shuffle."
Post by: TurtleDove on May 02, 2013, 06:06:21 PM
I agree with the others - your note is fine.  No need to explain exactly what happened, just that you are sorry it took longer than anticipated but is taken care of now, and if you can help in any other way you are there for her.
Title: Re: "Sorry! You got lost in the shuffle."
Post by: daen on May 02, 2013, 08:05:21 PM
Agreed. I find that often when I give reasons for my failings, they end up sounding like excuses, and detract from the sincerity of the apology. YMMV, though.
Title: Re: "Sorry! You got lost in the shuffle."
Post by: gramma dishes on May 02, 2013, 08:48:26 PM
I agree.  It won't help to attempt to explain.  In fact, it would only make things worse.  You handled it perfectly.
Title: Re: "Sorry! You got lost in the shuffle."
Post by: Promise on May 02, 2013, 09:14:06 PM
Your reply was ok. I think I would make the apology a little more such as, "I apologize for our delay in your materials (or whatever it was) on our end. Everything is attached and I hope..." and the rest of what you said. Starting out with "Sorry it took so long" sounds kind of impersonal. Who is sorry? It really doesn't sound like an apology or that you did something wrong. Something wrong did happen and it's nice to have someone take responsibility. You don't have to say they got lost in the shuffle, but stating that you apologize, since in some way you have part responsibility, is just nice.
Title: Re: "Sorry! You got lost in the shuffle."
Post by: Slartibartfast on May 02, 2013, 09:50:38 PM
I think you were fine, and if it comes up again you can follow up with "There was a miscommunication on our end and I've taken steps to make sure it won't happen again.  I'm really sorry your order was delayed."
Title: Re: "Sorry! You got lost in the shuffle."
Post by: Lynn2000 on May 03, 2013, 10:42:31 AM
I think your wording was fine. Any further explanation would just have sounded like excuses or blaming your boss or otherwise make your group look bad. If she follows up with a question I like Slartibartfast's additional wording, but I wouldn't use it unless Lynn makes a comment/inquiry.
Title: Re: "Sorry! You got lost in the shuffle."
Post by: gramma dishes on May 03, 2013, 11:16:31 AM
I think you were fine, and if it comes up again you can follow up with "There was a miscommunication on our end and I've taken steps to make sure it won't happen again.  I'm really sorry your order was delayed."
I think your wording was fine. Any further explanation would just have sounded like excuses or blaming your boss or otherwise make your group look bad. If she follows up with a question I like Slartibartfast's additional wording, but I wouldn't use it unless Lynn makes a comment/inquiry.

I like Slartibartfast's wording too, and I also agree with Lynn2000 that it shouldn't be used unless the subject is brought up again by (the other) Lynn.
Title: Re: "Sorry! You got lost in the shuffle."
Post by: jpcher on May 03, 2013, 04:36:31 PM
Thanks, all!  ;D

I thought that Lynn was owed some sort of explanation, but I couldn't come up with the wording.

I tend to agree with Lynn2000:

Any further explanation would just have sounded like excuses or blaming your boss or otherwise make your group look bad.
Title: Re: "Sorry! You got lost in the shuffle."
Post by: bopper on May 06, 2013, 08:38:34 AM
What you did was
1) Acknowledge you were late
2) State that you were sorry for the lateness

Now talk to your boss about how you and s/he can make sure that this does not happen again.
Title: Re: "Sorry! You got lost in the shuffle."
Post by: Softly Spoken on May 07, 2013, 10:53:53 AM
A reason is not an excuse.

It wouldn't do anything for Lynn to know you forgot about her/had communication problems. Admitting you did would make you seem flaky and unprofessional. When she didn't hear back from you in a timely manner, she may have assumed you forgot...or that you hated her...or that your company burned to the ground -  ::) who knows? It doesn't matter. Maybe you are worried she will think this is a sign of gross incompetence instead of just a one time fluke - she can think what she wants but it's up to you to prove her wrong by being on the ball in the future.

She followed up, you fixed your mistake. I'm betting she's just glad you finally did it. If she brings it up again, just apologize and indicate that you have taken the necessary steps to prevent this from happening again. Anything else will just sound like you are trying to assuage your guilt.

Also, though I think you mean it in the "*stuff* happens" sort of way, IMHO there is a slight insult implied in the idea that someone gets "lost in the shuffle" - you are either insulting your own abilities to be organized and stay ahead of the challenges of the "shuffle," or your are saying to your client that they are so unimportant that it was easy to forget about them the minute things got a little hectic.

Things being "crazy" doesn't excuse you and your boss dropping the ball. You screwed up your communication. That isn't "lost in the shuffle.''

Lynn needs an apology and an effort not to do that to her again. That's all. Learn from it and keep moving forward. :)