I once referred work to an accountant for a retirement plan audit. He did a terrible job and there were issues regarding his ability to do the work. Making a lousy referral is even worse than doing poor work of your own because at least you had control over your own work.
Of course, I was embarrassed and the accountant came up with so many embarrassing excuses and I looked like a moron in front of this plan sponsor. Yet, despite everything, all I wanted was an apology from the accountant.
Sometimes all you have to do is to say sorry if you mess up or if the client is disappointed in anyway even if it was something out of your control. Saying sorry and not making any excuses is a good way for your clients to release tension because unhappy clients leave and just fighting over something just because you won’t simply say sorry is silly. Saying you are sorry isn’t the same as admitting guilt and sometimes, it’s better to give in even though apologizing is not giving in.
Clients needs to know you care and just being indignant in refusing to apologize for anything can go a long way in causing grief for your business that you do not need.