How to Write an Apology Letter to Customers [12 Templates & Examples]

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Alana Chinn
Alana Chinn

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As a customer service rep, it can be disheartening when you know you've made a mistake. Writing an apology letter to customers can go a long way in righting your wrong.

first step to writing an apology letter to a customer is saying sorry

But how do you make sure your apology is meaningful and heartfelt while still staying professional?

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Here are some tips on how to write a good apology letter along with templates you can use for different scenarios.

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how to write an apology letter to customers

There's a right (and a wrong) way to write an apology letter to a customer. Here are a few do's and don'ts to keep in mind.

What To Do in an Apology Letter

Say you're sorry.

It sounds obvious, but the first thing you should do is apologize. A simple "I'm sorry" can go a long way, and it shows that you aren't taking a defensive approach to the situation.

Example: "First, I'm sorry for [mistake]. Let's discuss how we can make it right."

Admit when you're wrong.

Take ownership for your mistakes, no matter how big or small. By being responsible for your actions and admitting your faults, you can prove that you care about making things right.

Example: "I can tell that you're upset, and this mistake is on us."

Free Apology Letter Templates

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    Offer an explanation of what happened.

    A great way to calm down a riled-up customer is to show that you clearly understand their pain points. Plus, restating what they feel you did wrong in their own words demonstrates empathy.

    Example: "It sounds like your biggest concern is that you lost access to your account. Our systems were down temporarily which is likely why this issue occurred."

    Acknowledge the customer's goals.

    Customers understand that every business makes mistakes. But make sure that you express that you don't want your mistake to prevent them from achieving their goals.

    Example: "I recognize that you rely on us to manage your contacts, and we'll make sure to get your account back up and running as soon as possible."

    Give clear next steps.

    Always offer a plan of action for moving forward. Show the customer how you are going to change in the future based on this incident, so they're encouraged to stick around.

    Example: "I'll start by restoring your account access on the backend. Then, I'll have you log in to confirm the issue is resolved."

    Ask for forgiveness.

    Asking for forgiveness helps humanize the conversation even further. It shows that you aren't a robotic voice on a phone but an authentic person with heartfelt intentions.

    Example: "We really value your business. I hope you can accept our apology for [mistake]."

    Remind yourself it isn't personal.

    It's natural to slip up once in a while, and that's not reflective of your character or work ethic. Once you hit "send," let bygones be bygones and move on with your day.

    Example: "I appreciate you raising this concern. Have a nice day, and feel free to reach out to us if anything comes up in the future."

    Provide customer feedback options.

    When you ask for regular feedback, you're showing customers that they have a voice and you want your business to improve as much as they do.

    Example: "How are we doing? Use this survey to share your feedback."

    Follow up as needed.

    You should consider following up with a customer after you apologize. Wait for the appropriate amount of time to pass, then reach back out to see if there's anything else you can do for them. Reschedule meetings as needed and make yourself available.

    Example: "You recently reached out to us about [issue]. How are things going?"

    What Not To Do in an Apology Letter

    Don't get defensive.

    Remember, it's not you against the customer — it's you and the customer against the issue. Keep the conversation centered on the resolution rather than assigning blame.

    Don't ignore the issue.

    If a customer reaches out with a complaint, get back to them as soon as possible. The longer they have to wait, the more time they have to decide to do business elsewhere.

    Don't make excuses.

    There's often a fine line between explaining what happened and explaining that it's not your fault. Again, focus on the issue at hand because the solution is what really matters.

    Don't skip the personalization.

    Even if you receive numerous complaints about the same issue, it's important to remember that each customer's experience feels unique to them. Make your apology personal for them.

    12 Customer Apology Letter Examples and Templates

    1. Personal Apology Letter

    Subject: Follow-Up & Apology

    Dear [Customer Name],

    I'm so sorry that I gave you an invalid solution to your software malfunction. I take full responsibility for my actions and deeply regret the inconvenience that it must have caused you.

    I misunderstood the issue you were having when we were speaking on the phone, and that's why I ended up giving you a solution that was incorrect. That's no excuse, and I apologize for my unguided actions.

    In the future, I will be sure to ask several questions of my customers to fully understand the situation before offering a solution.

    I hope you can forgive me and that we can continue to work together if you have any more support needs.

    Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

    Sincerely,

    [Your Name]

    Download this Template

    Best for: Situations where a customer service rep is directly accountable for the customer issue.

    2. Mass Apology Letter

    Subject: An Update on [Issue]

    To our valuable [Company Name] customers,

    We're sorry. At [time] today, we experienced [description of issue], which affected [number] customers.

    Here's what happened: [Detailed explanation of source of problem and status of resolution].

    We know what it feels like to be waiting for a resolution to a problem, and we're sorry we put you in that situation. We are lucky to have you as [Company Name] customers, and this morning, we didn't live up to our end of the relationship.

    To help make it better, we are doing a full analysis on this issue, the root cause, the impact, and how to prevent this from happening again.

    Thank you for your patience with us as we dig in and get back to helping you grow with [product].

    Sincerely,

    [Executive Name]

    Download this Template

    Best for: Large-scale issues that impact a large number of customers at once — such as an outage, a bug, or a data breach.

    50 Free Customer Service Email Templates

    Templates to communicate price increases, apologies, thanks, and notifications to your customers with sincere, on-brand messaging.

    • Price Increase Letter Templates
    • Customer Apology Email Templates
    • Referral Email Templates
    • And More!
    Learn more

      Download Free

      All fields are required.

      You're all set!

      Click this link to access this resource at any time.

      3. Managerial Apology Letter

      Subject: Follow-Up & Apology

      Dear [Customer Name],

      On behalf of [Company Name], I want to extend our apologies for your experience with [Employee/Contractor Name].

      From our understanding, [explanation of the incident], which prevented you from [customer's goal]. We sincerely regret this misfortunate incident and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

      At [Company Name], our mission is to [company's mission], but in this case, we failed to deliver that experience. Since [Employee/Contractor Name] is under my supervision, I want to personally apologize for this mistake.

      [Employee/Contractor Name] has been notified of your feedback, and we are [steps being taken to resolve the issue or reprimand the employee].

      Thank you again for bringing this to my attention, and I sincerely appreciate your patience with us as we work to resolve this issue.

      I'm confident your next experience with our employees will be up to the high standard that you've come to expect from [Company Name].

      Sincerely,

      [Executive Name]

      Download this Template

      Best for: Instances when employees make big mistakes, and management needs to get involved to resolve the issue.

      4. Apology Letter for Inconvenience

      Subject: Sorry For the Inconvenience

      Dear [Customer Name],

      We're truly sorry for the inconvenience that [issue] has caused you. At [Company Name], we pride ourselves on providing top-notch service for our customers.

      We expect this to be resolved in [timeframe]. Thank you for your patience and continued support.

      Sincerely,

      [Your Name]

      Best for: Minor issues or issues with a set timeframe for resolution with minimal interruption.

      5. Apology Letter to an Unsatisfied Customer

      Subject: Let Us Make Things Right

      Dear [Customer Name],

      We're sorry to hear that you're unsatisfied with our [product or service]. At [Company Name], we want you to know that your satisfaction is our highest priority.

      To help make things right, we'd like to offer you [discount, freebie, perk, a direct line of communication, etc.].

      We know this doesn't make up for your experience, but we hope it's a step in the right direction.

      [Customer Service Rep] will be in touch within [timeframe] regarding next steps for your inquiry.

      Thank you, and please know that we appreciate you and your business.

      Sincerely,

      [Your Name]

      Best for: Individual customer service interactions where a customer issue went unresolved, a customer is still upset, or the conversation didn't go as planned.

      6. Apology Letter for Product Issues

      Subject: We Acknowledge Our Product Failure

      Dear [Customer Name],

      It's come to our attention that our product [description of product failure]. Our product team is working tirelessly to correct this issue and to ensure it doesn't come up again in the future.

      We will provide another update within [timeframe]. In the meantime, if you have any additional questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact [preferred customer service channel].

      We're sorry for any inconvenience this has caused, and we appreciate your understanding.

      Sincerely,

      [Your Name]

      Best for: Glitches or bugs that affected product performance for one of more customers, but the situation isn't necessarily a mass company-wide issue.

      7. Apology Letter for Bad Customer Service

      Subject: Our Apology to You

      Dear [Customer Name],

      We recognize that our recent interaction with you fell short of the customer service standards we hold ourselves to. We're really sorry about that.

      There's no excuse for the experience you received. As a company, we're reflecting on this situation and taking the necessary steps to ensure this doesn't happen again.

      [List specific steps that are being taken]

      We appreciate your continued support, and we hope we have the opportunity to show you that we're taking action on your feedback.

      Sincerely,

      [Your Name]

      Best for: Situations where customers feel like they had a negative experience or were treated poorly by your customer service team.

      8. Apology Letter for Scheduling Conflicts

      Subject: An Update On Your Upcoming Appointment

      Dear [Customer Name],

      We're very sorry to inform you that [team member] has an unexpected conflict and is no longer available for your appointment on [date]. We'd like to work with you to reschedule as soon as possible.

      Please [visit our website/app, give us a call, etc.] to choose an alternate date and time that works for you.

      We understand that reschedules and cancellations impact you the most, and we want you to know that we value your time to the fullest.

      Thank you in advance for your flexibility, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

      Sincerely,

      [Your Name]

      Best for: Appointment or meeting changes that are prompted by the company and otherwise unexpected for the customer.

      9. Apology Letter for Mistakes

      Subject: We Messed Up

      Dear [Customer Name],

      There's no way around it — we made a mistake, and we're owning it. We're sorry for [description of mistake], and how this affected your workflow.

      At [Company Name], our mission is to [Company Mission or Customer Service Philosophy]. We hope we can prove to you that we hold ourselves accountable when things go wrong.

      Optional: As an additional thank you for your business, here's [discount, freebie, perk].

      Sincerely,

      [Your Name]

      Best for: General mistakes, big or small.

      50 Free Customer Service Email Templates

      Templates to communicate price increases, apologies, thanks, and notifications to your customers with sincere, on-brand messaging.

      • Price Increase Letter Templates
      • Customer Apology Email Templates
      • Referral Email Templates
      • And More!
      Learn more

        Download Free

        All fields are required.

        You're all set!

        Click this link to access this resource at any time.

        10. Apology Letter for Delays

        Subject: [Item] is Taking Longer Than Expected

        Dear [Customer Name],

        We're sorry — [Item] is taking longer than we anticipated. This is due to [include list of reasons].

        Our new timeline for [item] is [timeframe].

        In the meantime, we'd like to offer you the following alternative solutions as you wait: [Description of alternative solution or helpful resources].

        We appreciate your patience and understanding, and we'll reach back out once this issue is resolved.

        Sincerely,

        [Your Name]

        Best for: Product launch delays, shipping delays, issue resolution delays, and other unintended timing issues.

        11. Apology Letter for Company Transgressions

        Subject: An Acknowledgement From [Company Name]

        Dear [Customer Name],

        Our recent communication about [topic] does not reflect our values as an organization. We're sorry for the language that was used in [communication].

        At [Company Name], we have every intention of creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable and empowered. And part of doing so is admitting when we're in the wrong.

        To ensure nothing like this happens in the future, we're taking the following steps as an organization:

        [Bulleted list of steps being taken]

        Thank you for working with us toward [Company Mission].

        Sincerely,

        [Your Name]

        Best for: Actions or behaviors (e.g., social media communications, email campaigns, etc.) that reflect poorly on the company's mission, culture, or customer service principles.

        12. Apology Letter Follow-Up

        Subject: Follow-Up On [Issue]

        Dear [Customer Name],

        We recently reached out about [issue], and we wanted to check in to see how things are going.

        If you have any additional concerns or feedback to share, you can fill out the below survey or contact us via [preferred customer service channel].

        [Survey Name]: [Feedback survey link]

        Thank you for your continued support.

        Sincerely,

        [Your Name]

        Best for: Checking in with customers after an issue is resolved to keep the lines of communication open.

        An Apology Goes A Long Way

        Don't underestimate the power of the words "I'm sorry" when it comes to customer service.

        Even the toughest of issues can be resolved with genuine acknowledgement that mistakes were made — and that you'll try your best to prevent them in the future.

        Editor's note: This post was originally published in June 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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