7 Ways to Apologize in Business Email: How to Say Sorry to a Customer?

Anton Shabatov - September 5, 2018 - 0 comments

apologize emails

Why is it important to learn how to apologize professionally in an email? The main reason is that this is the most frequently used mean of communication, so you need to know how to write emails properly in general. Moreover, you this option will be handy in such situations:

  • when you need to cover many cases quickly;
  • when time matters;
  • when you want to provide a detailed apology;
  • when your apology has formal character.

We cannot deny the fact that we can make mistakes, especially in the business sphere, where we experience a lot of stress and multitasking. There are plenty of situations that require apologizing to a customer. Everyone can come up with the unique case. But today we will learn some recommendations on how to apologize in a business email in the right way.

“It is important to always validate the email database. Why is it important to do with any email database?
Because if you do not do this, then the entire mailing can be sent to the spam folder and not one reader will not see your letter, even with an apology.
Use free email verification service like Proofy”

Why Can Writing Apologize Business Email Be Challenging?

It is not enough just to know “how”. In some cases, you need to take efforts to admit you are wrong. Here are some reasons why:

  1. You may afraid that by writing an email to apologize you will admit you are a bad person. However, one mistake just proves that you are a human and one pitfall will not ruin your reputation to the ground.
  2. You may feel like you need to defend yourself. Feeling of being ashamed may trigger your defensive forces. But it is important to control such desires.
  3. You are afraid you will be accused even more. We cannot deny the possibility of this, but this is not the reason not to say sorry at all. Also, you are lucky to do this in written form, so you have time to rethink your words and filter off unreasonable comments of the customer.

Okay, we have dealt with a psychological aspect of apologizing by email. Now let’s move to the technical aspects.

How to Work on Apologize Formal Email: Guide

Basically, your email must have a formal structure with a fixed order of the thoughts. However, you can use your own creative approach, if you are sure your apology will be accepted correctly. But here are some main elements of such apologize for formal email:

  1. The opening. Think of what relationships you have with the receiver(s). It may be more formal addressing if it is your boss or more informal with the partner, colleague etc. This part of the email will set the required mood for the following text.
  2. Defining the problem. You need to face that you have made a mistake and you admit it. Do not start excusing yourself and redirect responsibility to other people or circumstances. Be honest and this will help you to gain respect despite the situation.
  3. The actual apology. This is the part that reflects your main point. Again, avoid redirecting the blame. Be humble and honest. Your words must show your sincere regret.
  4. Solution. Sure, you cannot turn back the clock, but you need to reassure the reader, that there is less likely you will fail like this again. This block is important as it shows your strong desire to continue your collaboration with the improved conditions.
  5. Conclusion. Here you may thank the person for the time for reading your apologizing email and set a background for the further communication.

How to Apologize in an Email: 7 Cases

Examples of apologizing can show you the right direction in creating your own variants. You already have a basic structure that shown in the previous paragraph. Now you can see ready-made letters that can also be used as templates with minor changes if your situation matches the case.

Apologizing for Bad Client Treatment

Sadly, but there may be cases of rudeness, incompetent support managers, and inappropriate behavior of the company representatives in your practice. Prepare for this by learning how to apologize to a customer by email from the following example:

Dear Peter,

I want to express my sincere apology on behalf of [Company Name] for the mistreatment you have experienced recently while dealing with our support manager Sam.

I admit that Sam was not able to help you with your problem and did not direct you to the right person. I understand how frustrated and left out you might feel in that moment when he hung up without any explanations so you had to call us and be on hold again. According to our policy, we have to provide the high quality of service and we want you to know that we are sorry for not meeting those requirements.

We have already set a few meetings with our representatives to remind them of their duties and algorithm of activities in similar cases. We will take drastic measures to prevent such a poor treatment in the future. We also plan to test the work of all our support managers in order to detect other mistakes in their work.

Please, mind this information. We are constantly working on the improvement of our service so your feedback will be really helpful. Also, feel free to contact us in case of other issues.

Kind regards,

[Full signature]

Apologizing for Problems with Shipping

You may or may not be responsible for problems with shipment. There are factors that you can control like the information about the availability of the product or the proper packing. Also, there are factors that over your control like weather conditions. Anyway, in case of problems you have to write an email to say sorry.

Dear Denice,

We are terribly sorry that you still did not get your [Item] that you ordered last week.

The thing is we did not expect such demand on this item, so we ran out of it before we were able to change the availability status on the website. But the next bringing of [Item] will be on Monday that will help to cover all the orders.

We know you are our loyal client and expected the usual high level of service from our company. That is why we feel even more regretful that you have experienced such an unpleasant situation.

You can inform us in case you want to cancel your order. Otherwise, your [Item] will be shipped to you as soon as it is available. You can track the availability status on our website. Once more, please, accept our sincerest apologies.

Ben C.

Customer Service Representative

Email to a Customer Apologizing for a Product or Service Being Damaged

It is a known fact that it is much easier and cheaper to keep the existing customer that to search and attract the new one. That is why you need to reach fast on cases of defective or damaged products or the low level of service.

Dear David,

Thank you for informing us about the defective [Product]. We are sincerely sorry that the item did not meet the expectations and did not provide the promised functions. We understand that you are disappointed and we truly sorry you have faced such inconvenience.

We have set the process of quality check for all our items as it is in our interest to sell the high-quality products. And we regret we missed your order during this quality check.

We have already sent you the new [Product] and we made sure that the item is working properly. You will get the parcel within 5 working days. Please, return us the defective [product] after that.

We understand that you had plans for the ordered item, so to brighten up the process of waiting for the replacing object we give you $10 coupon off for your next order and hope there will be no any similar problems.

Thank you for your time and understanding. In case of any other issues considering our service, feel free to contact us in the future.

Jane P.,

Customer Service Representative

Apologizing for Issues with Bills

Unfortunately, this is a common problem in the world of online sales. To the customer, it is frustrating and even frightening as there is their money involved. However, you must write an email to apologize to the customer for such a situation as soon as possible and fix it immediately.

Dear Anna,

Thank you for your message to the customer service department. We apologize for the fact that you have been charged twice for the same purchase. We completely accept all the responsibility and are on our way to fixing the problem.

We have made an investigation and found out that the computer glitch has taken place in our billing system. In order to prevent this in the future, we are working on updates for the system that will be implemented very soon. Also, we will provide a refund of the charge that was mistaken. You can expect the money back within 1-3 working days.

We hope you will be satisfied with such a solution and attempt to compensate for the inconvenience you had. Also, we want to thank you again for your inquiry that helped us to identify the problem and fix it to make our service better.

Feel free to write to us in case of any other possible issues connected with dealing with our company.

Kind regards,

Dave G.,

Customer Service Representative

Apologizing for Cancelation of a Service or Meeting

As with delays and recalls, problems with cancelation can happen due to the controllable and non-controllable factors. But as in previous cases, in an apologizing business email, you need to take into consideration the inconvenience that customer may experience in this situation.

Dear Jack,

I sincerely apologize for canceling the meeting [a more detailed description of the event] because of dangerous weather conditions that are in the forecast now.

Due to the hurricane and rain, we will not have an opportunity to follow the schedule of our meeting. Moreover, it can be unsafe to drive or fly to the event and after it. We care about the safety of our guests as this is the main priority.

We hope we will have a chance to change the time of the event and we will notify you of the new date. For now, you will get a full refund that will be delivered to your bank account within 3 working days.

We appreciate your interest in our events. Please, follow the link and check other upcoming events that might be interesting to you.

Kind regards,

James Wan

Event Manager

Apologizing for Recalling the Product

This is the second common case when the apologizing letter will be needed. No matter how big or expensive the recalled product is, you have to consider and remember customers’ feelings. Here are other apologies for email to customer sample:

Dear customer,

Here in [Company’s Name], we work hard on providing only the high-quality products. Our priority is to supply our customers with [type of product] they deserve and expect from us. That is why we are sad to report that we have failed in this when preparing the last series of [product].

We have discovered that they [describe the detailed reason why you need to recall it]. Usually, we test our products thoroughly, so we are in a deep regret we have failed in this case.

This letter is aimed at informing our customers about the danger of [using/consuming] the [product]. If you still have it, please return it to us and get a full refund:

[Company or Production Address]

We are terribly sorry that you have put yourself in danger by buying the item from this series. That is why our company has taken drastic measures to improve the quality testing process. We will put all our efforts to meet your expectations next time.


Peter Cube

President and CEO

Apology for a Group of Customers

Any of the described situations can have singular or mass character, so you need to keep in mind when you are writing a personal (or personified) email or the message to all your clients. It may sound terrifying realizing that you have let down many people at once. But you need to take all your courage and face the need to deliver apologize email for the mistake.

Dear customers,

We in [Company Name] want to say sorry for the yesterday problems with our website. We understand that many of you could not conduct their business and make purchases using our resource due to technical issues.

Now the problem is solved and we have hired a group of web-developers to check our website on any other possible issues. Such measures will help to prevent such problems in the future.

We appreciate your understanding and are ready to take all the blame. If you have faced a serious problem because of the site’s unavailability, please contact us freely to negotiate about compensation. For now, all the customers will get a 20$ discount on the next purchase.


Annie Hope

Equipment Sales Manager

The Importance of Apology in Business Communication

Sure thing, apologizing bring not too much fun. However, we cannot underestimate the importance of such an approach in the setting of business relationships with customers. Knowing how to say sorry in email properly will help you in protecting your reputation despite the fact you make mistakes sometimes. After all, this is a common courtesy that every well-behaved person should follow.

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