Yesterday, I got a call from the circulation desk, the clerk was transferring a call. It was a very disgruntled patron who was convinced that the circ clerks had not checked in two DVDs he was certain he had returned. So I took a deep breath and picked up the call. Mr. M. was certainly cranky. He was convinced that he had been mistreated by the circ staff and that they had bungled his transaction. I apologized. Not for any wrong doing, but just because he felt that he had not received the service he deserved. I repeated what the circ clerk had told me. They had checked for his items. They would check again, but the desk was very busy and they couldn't do it right now. I took his name, his card number, his phone number. I confirmed the titles he was concerned about. I told him I'd get back to him. I said I was sorry for the inconvenience and assured him we would get it straightened out. He calmed down. He said he'd check again to see if he still had the items.
Five minutes later he called back ... to apologize. His wife had found the DVDs under the front seat of the car. A favorite hiding place of missing items. I let him off the hook and said we all have moments like that.
It's amazing what an apology can do.