header image apology email

Best Practices to Write Apology Emails (with Templates)

Owning up to your mistake and asking for forgiveness is never easy. But, without it, your brand’s relationship with a disgruntled customer won’t last. You’ll also be surprised by the results that a heartfelt apology email can bring. 

By sending an apology email, not only will you end up resurrecting the loyalty of a customer, but you also ensure they don’t bad-mouth you to potential customers. 

And, please don’t take bad publicity lightly! A study by Salesforce reveals that 89% of customers are more inclined to buy again from a brand that offers excellent customer service. So, if your buyers are not saying good things about you, you can bid future customers goodbye.

You can easily avoid this scenario by sending out an apology email. But, to do that, you must adhere to a few best practices. Follow through with them for effective damage control. 

The Secret Recipe for Writing Great Apology Emails

Sure, your brand can make tall claims, especially if you have the goods to back up those claims. But if things go awry, even just a smidge – gussy up, confess and apologize. Trust us – your customers will only appreciate the honesty.

But, there is a way to ask for forgiveness, especially over email. 

Email is excellent not only for promotional marketing but also for end-to-end customer engagement. Therefore, sending out welcome emails as well as apology emails are all a part of your brand’s email marketing strategy

Are you unsure about how to write a good apology email? Here is a three-pronged approach to help you hammer one out in no time. 

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1) Acknowledge You Made a Boo-Boo 

Look at acknowledging a mistake as an opportunity. While it is hard to admit you’re wrong, this is your chance to redeem yourself. Moreover, through an apology email, you can also add a sweetener while apologizing, meaning offer a discount or make their purchase free. 

For you, the cost to rectify your mistake will be nothing compared to the possible chance of winning a customer’s lifelong loyalty. Whether your error is big or small, come clean by stating you made a mistake in the subject line and the very first paragraph of your email. Keep in mind that once you’ve lost customers, you’ll have to deploy a win-back campaign, which will require extra time and effort. 

If you want to take a more serious apologetic tone with your customer, here are a few phrases you can use while writing this email:

apology email copy
Source: Hiver 

While the phrases mentioned above can generate empathy and show your brand’s sense of responsibility, there are certain sentences and words you must avoid altogether. So, always be wary of trust-ruining email phrases, whether you’re writing an apology email or a sales email.  

2) Explain What Went Wrong 

After apologizing straight up, it’s time to explain what indeed happened? Doing this provides closure to customers. After learning more about the problem from you, they can heave a sigh of relief and rest assured that you’ve got a grip on the situation. 

Providing a detailed explanation of the problem to customers with all the important information and apologizing shows proactiveness. It also highlights that you genuinely investigated a situation and will soon come ready with a roadmap or solution. Therefore, avoid sending out an apology email without citing what went wrong from your end. 

3) Extend a Viable Solution 

It’s only logical to come up with a resolution roadmap if the mistake was from your end. Emailing a heartfelt apology without resolving the said issue is an empty word to customers. Here is the sequence your apology email should typically follow: 

  • Explain what happened.
  • Explain why it happened.
  • Explain how you are resolving your mistake. 

Incorporate CTAs or links that take your customers to the resolution landing page or offer them a discount voucher as an attachment with the apology email. Whatever route you take to make things okay, ensure your apology email carries it. Do not make your customers wait for another email to carry a solution.

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Circumstances that Call for Apology Emails

From the moment a lead hits “buy” until they receive a product, there are umpteen points where a customer can get into trouble with a brand. And, here is how you can deal with them through apology emails. 

Scenario 1: When you’ve supplied a defective product or service 

Remember, you want to take up apology emails for defective goods and services on priority. Simply because this category of individuals might contain fresh converts, and you want their repeat business. 

Here is a sample template for writing an apology email to a customer who received a defective product from your end.

apology template
Source: Proofy 

Scenario 2: When there are billing issues 

This scenario is especially scary for an online customer as a considerable sum of money is usually involved. Here is how a simple yet sincere apology email acknowledges the mistake, identifies the issue, and provides a resolution. This will instantly put your customer at ease.

template for apology email
 Source: Hiver 

Scenario 3: In the Event of Poor Customer Service 

Unfortunately, a customer might face a bout of rudeness from one of your junior executives. This can lead to serious reputation damage and thwart repeat business. Remember, you need to provide exceptional customer service if you want repeat business. 

Studies also show that a whopping 93% of customers are more likely to give you repeat business if you ensure excellent customer service. So, suppose you have an aggrieved client. In that case, the best way to fortify your relationship with them is to have a senior executive send out a personalized apology email, as shown in the template below:

apology email
Source: Proofy 

Scenario 4: When You End Up Delaying Product or Service Delivery 

Sometimes, shipping delays will be your fault, while sometimes, the delays may happen due to factors out of your control. In either case, send an apology email. It will only boost your credibility and make the customer see you in good light. Here is a sample apology email for a delay in delivery.

example email
Source: Hiver 

By and large, these four scenarios cover a ton of issues that commonly warrant an apology from your end. 

Situations When You Should Not Send Apology Emails

Sure, sometimes an error is evident to both the customer and the brand, and sending out an apology email here is the right thing to do. But, there are specific scenarios where you should avoid sending one, even though it feels like you made a mistake. Here are 3 such scenarios:

  1. Don’t send an apology email if there is a spelling mistake or a minor grammatical error in your previous email. 
  2. If you accidentally sent out a coupon or discount code to a bunch of your customers, don’t recall it later if you can commit to the offer. Just be more careful not to make the same mistake the next time. 
  3. Don’t apologize in case you sent the same email twice. Such a thing happens, and it doesn’t warrant an apology. In fact, apologizing by sending another email might annoy customers even more. 

Over to You 

So, you had to apologize to a bunch of customers. Don’t take it personally! Instead, look at the bright side – these emails can retain customer relationships in a scenario of something going wrong. Sending such an email shows your taking ownership of the situation by showcasing adequate responsibility. 

If you’re all set to draft email marketing strategies for your ecommerce brand or any other business, make sure to spare some time preparing relevant apology email templates. Doing this, along with the entire process of planning an email marketing campaign, will provide timely resolution to your customers when a tricky situation arises.

Author Bio

Rochelle Williams is a Senior Marketing Manager at Span Global Services. She comes with a strong marketing and advertising industry exposure of over 8+ years and has a deep understanding of SEO, SEM, SMO, branding, and allied marketing strategies. Connect with her on Twitter.

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