Sometimes things don’t go your way. Mistakes are made and the customer gets the short end of the stick. As disheartening as it can be, it’s not the end of the world, and here’s why.
If you acknowledge your error with an apology email, you are effectively showing your customer that you are aware of it. Moreover, you are engaging in a communication that shows them your commitment to not repeat the same mistake and reassures them of the quality of your business.
Although it’s important, apologizing is not easy to do. It demands a good dose of humility on your part. Luckily, when you are apologizing through email, you have the time to formulate your apology in the best possible way. For that matter, we’re here to help you to get the best possible outcome of a sticky situation.
This article will guide you through the main points you need to cover in an apology email and analyze some examples of common situations. Finally, we will provide you with apology letter samples and easy-to-adapt apology email templates that you can tailor to your needs and use when you are making amends with your customers.
Without further ado, let’s explore the key aspects of an apology email and how to cover each one of them when writing one yourself.
How To Write an Apology Email
Taking the blame for something is not easy. It’s human nature to want to defend yourself when you screw up. But as the saying goes: “Fault confessed is half redressed”, and this stays true in the corporate world as well.
When the inevitable mistake is made, you need to own it and apologize, minimizing the negative feedback from your customers as a result. But a simple “I’m Sorry” might not be enough. That’s why we compiled this list of essential elements that will make your apology email more effective:
1. Express your most sincere apologies
This might be an obvious one, as it’s the main reason you are sending your apology email in the first place.
But coming out as sincere is not an easy thing to. If you get defensive or start beating around the bush by trying to find excuses, your apology will feel fake and forced.
Instead of salvaging, you would be hindering the relationship with your customer even more.
2. Own the mistake
This might be the hardest part of your apology email. Owning your mistakes and admitting you were wrong might hurt your ego more than a bit.
But remember, you have a chance to redeem yourself here. Taking responsibility for your error, big or small, will help you come out in a much better light in your recipient’s eyes.
3. Explain what happened
Your next step will be to explain to your customers what went wrong. Making your clients understand how your actions wronged them is an effective strategy in calming them down. It shows empathy and proactiveness on your part that you really investigated what happened.
Remember our second point: don’t try to deflect the blame and don’t lose sight of your role in the whole ordeal.
4. Acknowledge the customer’s goals
Most people understand that things can go wrong sometimes. After all, they have most likely been in your place before.
But customers have their own goals, and they are using your company’s products or services to reach them.
If your mistakes prevented them in doing so, acknowledging how you slowed down their progress will show that you are sincere in your apology as you understand the scale of your error and their point of view on it.
5. Present a plan of action
If you highlighted the problem, it is only logical that you need to give a solution to it.
Have a clear plan on what your next steps will be to undo any wrongdoing and share it with your customers.
By doing so, you create a feeling of trust by showing transparency on how you plan to tackle the problem. Additionally, you are reassuring them that you will stay on top of things in the future and that you can move on having learned a valuable lesson. Try to express that this mistake of yours will ultimately help you build a better business experience for your customers.
6. Ask for forgiveness
Showing some heart and vulnerability can go a long way. It humanizes your business in the eyes of your client, and makes them relate to it more naturally. Asking for forgiveness is a good way to underline that you really stand behind your apology.
Keep in mind that over-apologizing could lead up to further complaint or refund requests as it might plant doubt about your abilities.
7. Don’t take it personally
Customer complaints can be hurtful and losing business through human error can sometimes weigh heavily on your shoulders. Keep in mind that making mistakes is human and that it’s a natural part of doing business.
Just try not to make a habit out of it and thoroughly think through your apology email to mitigate the damage the best you can.
8. Provide clients with customer feedback
This part of your email is crucial when trying to retain and even build on your relationship after you’ve wronged someone.
By giving your customers a channel of communication to share their thoughts, you are highlighting your concern for them. Furthermore, you are telling them that their opinion matters when it comes on how you want to improve your business for a better experience in the future. Mailigen’s survey feature is a great tool for keeping up to date with your customers thoughts and needs.
Now that we have explored these essential points and what makes them so important, let’s take a look at some real examples and specific situations that might call for an apology email.
Apology Letter Samples
Now that we’ve gotten through the basics of what makes a good apology email, let’s get into the details. To make things a little easier for you, we’ve put together a few apology letter samples to draw inspiration from.
1. Mass apology Email
Sometimes a mistake can affect a large section of your customer base. It could be a software bug or a human error that has riled up a lot of your clients. It might prove difficult to mitigate this situation going case by case, and a mass apology email might be your best solution here. If you catch it early, the situation might not escalate into a negative sentiment towards your company.
This apology letter sample gets right to the point. The company effectively apologizes and explains the reason behind it.
Whether the customer was affected or not by the error, a clear solution in the form of a price reduction coupon is offered to honour a discount that was promised. This shows how a problem can create an opportunity for even more sales and an additional offer for your customers.
2. Managerial Apology Email
Depending on the gravity of the mistake, it might be necessary to personalize your apology from a specific senior manager or director. This will allow you to show that you understand the gravity of the situation and that you are ready to take it to a higher level to solve the customer’s problem.
In this apology letter sample, even though the problem was purely technical, the Marketing Director intentionally puts herself in the spotlight, taking some of that blame.
This shows the customer that managers are willing to take a step forward and propose a solution to the problem, something that a simple employee would not be able to do.
3. Personal Apology Email
In some cases, you will be the one that has wronged your customer directly. Thus, taking a personal stance in the apology might have the best outcome. This will allow you to appear much more sincere in your quest of making amends.
In this apology letter sample, the sales rep apologized personally for a cancelled appointment, making the whole interaction more human.
Not only do they propose a gift to make things right, but also encourage some feedback from the customer in order to avoid this kind of problem in the future. This highlights the company’s willingness to create a better user experience in the future.
Those are three major types of apology emails that you might want to send to your customers, depending on what the situation calls for.
Now that we analyzed how others are doing it, we want to propose a number of different apology email templates that you can use yourself, adapting them as you see fit.
Apology Email Templates
1. Incorrect Information Apology Email Template
2. Poor Service (Escalating To Management) Apology Email Template
3. Bad Service Apology Email Template
4. Emails Not Delivered Apology Email Template
5. Unsatisfactory Product Apology Email Template
6. Missed Appointment Apology Email Template
7. Business Apology Email Template
8. Hotel Apology Email Template
9. Defective B2B Products Apology Email Template
10. Mobile Game Bug Apology Email Template
Whatever kind of apology email you’re sending out, focus on the main points that we addressed earlier in this article:
- Be sincere when apologizing.
- Own the mistake.
- Explain in detail why you are apologizing.
- Show that you understand the customer’s goals and views.
- Have a plan of action to solve the problem.
- Ask for customer feedback when possible.
If you follow these simple guidelines, your apology email will sound sincere and will allow you to rectify the situation with the customers that you wronged.
Hopefully, the apology email templates we provided will help you get out of a difficult situation and even turn the odds in your favour. Remember, making mistakes is human, and apologizing for them will help you maintain your relationship with your customers.