Saying Sorry: Our Best Apology Email Templates And Tips

Published by Micheli on February 4, 2021

Admitting that you made a mistake can be hard, but when it comes to customer interactions it’s important to acknowledge your error and issue a heartfelt apology. An apology email can often strengthen your relationship with a customer or client as it indicates that you can take responsibility for your actions and by demonstrating that you and your brand care about customer well-being you can build long-term loyalty.

Composing the perfect apology email is the first step to repairing a relationship with your customer and it’s important to get it right. We’ll take a look at some of the guiding principles behind an ideal apology email and provide some templates you can keep in your back pocket for if it all goes wrong.

Eight Tips For The Perfect Apology

“Apology email templates are great, but without the personal touch an apology will fall flat. It’s important to adapt your templates to your customers’ and clients’ needs, and to acknowledge the gravity of your mistake,” says Christina Thompson, an email writer at Next Coursework and Brit Student. Here are our guiding principles for how to address any mistake and issue an apology to your customers.

  • The Personal Touch

Whether your blunder has affected just one individual or a broad subset of your customers, an apology email must be accompanied with a personal touch for the apology to feel sincere. A mistake makes your customers feel uncared for and a robotic apology just reinforces this distance between you and your customers. Always start the email with a personalized hello and sign off from a particular individual in your organization.

  • Admit Your Failings 

It’s a human impulse to seek excuses for our failings, but a sincere apology must include an acknowledgement of what went wrong. “Accepting responsibility for the error in your email reassures your customers that you’re learning from the mistake and moving on,” says Shelly Randall, a tech expert at 1Day2Write and Write My X. “Deflecting or blaming will indicate to customers that you aren’t taking your mistakes seriously.”

  • Be Prepared To Explain Yourself 

Some minor mistakes won’t require any further explanation and as long as the impact on your customer has been negligible you can even use this is an opportunity for humor as you’ll see in the templates below – by blaming the weather, or you horoscope or ‘Bob in Sales’ you’re showing your brand’s character and strengthening your relationship with your customers.

When you’ve committed a serious failure to meet your customer’s expectations, however, they will expect an explanation of how this was allowed to happen. This reassures customers that the issue is being taken seriously.

  • Provide A Solution 

Customers and clients understand that mistakes can happen  – but what they’ll find unforgivable is when businesses don’t learn from their errors. A solid apology email should include a plan of action that will prevent the same mistakes from being made again.

An apology email is an opportunity to show leadership to your customers – laying out the solution to the problem will build trust in your organization for the future.

  • Earn Forgiveness – Don’t Expect It 

Trust is earned and in a competitive digital environment it’s often hard earned. You can’t expect your customers to forgive you for a mistake, rather you should see forgiveness and a future relationship as something you need to earn.

Offering a discount code or a free item is an important move that reassures your customers that you want to move past the mistake. It’s important, however, that you don’t appear opportunistic and that any offer isn’t upselling an item. Free shipping, for example, that requires customers to make a purchase, might not be an appropriate offer.

  • Keep The Dialogue Open 

For small mistakes an apology and a gift will allow you to move on but for significant issues which have caused your customers genuine problems, you’ll need to keep lines of communication open. If there’s a small number of customers affected by a big issue, providing a personal contact number can provide that crucial touching point that restores trust in your organization.

Providing customers with an opportunity for feedback is also important after a mistake: giving customers an outlet to vent their frustrations, and ensuring that they feel listened to, can heal the wounds caused by your business blunder.

  • Don’t Be Pushy

The language used in an apology email is an important way you can reinforce your contrition amongst your customers. Avoid making demands in your email so that the autonomy of your customers is respected and any damage you have done to the relationship is accepted at face value.

Whilst employing phrases such as “please accept our apology” are often standard in apology emails to customers and clients, authoritative language should be avoided as it sets a poor tone for the email. “We would like to apologize” expresses a desire on the part of your organization without enforcing an expectation that it is received by your clients. 

  • Choose The Right Person To Send The Email 

Lastly, signing off your email from the right individual in your organization is as important as anything in the body of your email. For minor issues it’s fine for the email to come from team members and this can create space for an informal, self-deprecating tone that builds trust in your brand. For a serious mistake that has caused a grave issue amongst your customers, an email coming from the CEO’s personal email address will allow the magnitude of the issue to be appropriately acknowledged.

Four Templates For Any Scenario 

Although there are many things that can go wrong in an organization, they will likely fall around two variables – the impact of the error and the number of individuals affected. Here are four great templates you can use to apologize for mistakes both minor and major, to either an individual or a group of customers. 

1) A Minor Mistake, To An Individual Customer 

“Hi [customer name here] 

Whoops, we messed up! 

As you may have noticed, we [describe the mistake here]. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused – we’re going to blame Bob in Sales for this one! 

As an apology, please let us offer [a discount code, for example].
We hope to see you again soon,

[personal sign off]” 

2) A Significant Mistake, To An Individual Customer 

“Hi [customer name here] 

I am writing to you today to apologize on behalf of [your organization] for [detail the mistake here]. We understand that this must have caused you [briefly acknowledge the impact of your mistake here]. 

We believe this issue occurred due to [a brief, honest description of what went wrong]. Regardless, this should have never happened and we will learn from this issue in the future.

Whilst we understand that we cannot undo the inconvenience you suffered, please accept [an offer] as an expression of our regret that this occurred and our gratitude for your continued custom. 

If you have any further questions, or think there’s something we could have done better, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on [a contact number is best here, for a personal touch] 

All the best,

[personal sign off – ideally, CEO or someone at a high level within your organization] 

3) A Minor Mistake, To Multiple Customers 

“Hi [customer name here] 

Well, that’s embarrassing. 

As you may have noticed, we [describe the mistake here]. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused – we have fixed this issue now. 

As an apology to all our customers affected by this, please enjoy [a discount code, for example].

We hope to see you again soon,

[personal sign off]” 

4) A Significant Mistake, To Multiple Customers 

“Hi [customer name here]

I am writing to you today to apologize on behalf of [your organization] for [detail the mistake here]. We strive to provide the best service to our customers and on this occasion we let you down. 

This issue arose due to [a brief, honest description of what went wrong]. Regardless, this should have never happened and we will learn from this issue in the future.

As an apology, please accept [an offer] as an expression of our regret that this occurred and our gratitude to you as a customer. We appreciate your patience at this time.

If you have any further questions, or think there’s something we could have done better, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on: [email address, or phone number if it’s only a few customers that have been affected] 

All the best,

[personal sign off – ideally, CEO or someone at a high level within your organization]

Signing Off

Nobody’s perfect all the time and, unfortunately, it’s inevitable that your business will slip up and upset a customer. What you can do right now is prepare for that eventuality by constructing the perfect apology email. The upside of a business blunder is that it presents an opportunity for interacting with customers  – build strong relationships with your customers through these ideal apology email templates.

George J. Newton is a business development manager at Write My Essay and Thesis Writing Service. He has been married for ten years, perfecting the art of the apology throughout. He also writes for Academic Paper Help.

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