Tutorial for “Write a Business Apology”

Tips

You should write this letter as soon as possible after the incident. It should be clear, brief, and dignified. Focus on actions taken to rectify the situation rather than on any damage that resulted. A sincere, well-worded apology can be very effective in winning back disgruntled customers and business associates.

Steps

1. Begin with a straightforward apology that refers to the offense.

Sentences

  • I am sorry that the information I gave you was inaccurate. I realize it placed you in an awkward position.
  • Doe Incorporated apologizes that your compressor model #123 was incomplete when you received it.
  • I apologize for missing Tuesday's meeting.
  • I am sorry I didn't return your phone call.
  • I am sorry your motor failed to function properly. We take pride in the quality of our motors, so it disturbs me to hear that yours was defective.
  • John, I apologize that you were left standing in our reception area for so long with no one to assist you. Customer service is one of our company's top priorities so I was particularly troubled to hear what happened yesterday.
  • I apologize for not acknowledging your excellent performance in helping secure the Doe contract.
  • We are sorry that the motor you ordered arrived after the deadline.
  • We apologize for misplacing your file.
  • I apologize for any inconvenience my being late may have caused.

Phrases

  • any inconvenience I may have caused
  • apologize for misplacing your
  • apologize for not acknowledging your
  • are sorry that we are unable to help in
  • are sorry that the item you ordered
  • are quite right in expecting better service
  • arrived after the deadline
  • failed to function properly
  • have no excuse
  • if our warranty was misrepresented
  • in your time of need
  • incomplete when you received it
  • information I gave you was inaccurate
  • it disturbs me to hear that
  • occasionally an error occurs
  • one of our company's top priorities
  • perhaps the person you spoke with did not
  • received your letter telling us about
  • regret the delay
  • regret that you were not pleased with
  • regret the oversight
  • regret that our instructions were
  • respond to your complaint
  • sorry we omitted the
  • sorry that I failed to
  • sorry that you were displeased
  • sorry it failed to function properly
  • take pride in the quality of
  • try our best but
  • understand that yours was defective
  • unexpected developments prevented
  • want you to know we are very concerned
  • was unexpectedly called out of town
  • was particularly troubled to hear about
  • was unclear about
  • would get faster service

2. Acknowledge the reader's frustration.

Sentences

  • John, you have been a valued client with our firm for many years. We thank you for your patience and understanding concerning this matter.
  • I understand that such inconveniences can be very frustrating. Thank you for your patience.
  • Since our firm is in the same business as yours, we understand that prompt delivery is essential.
  • I know what it is like to have a no-show for an important appointment, so I sincerely appreciate your patience with me.
  • I can imagine how upset you must have been so I am grateful for a chance to explain.

Phrases

  • a valued client with our firm
  • agree with your sentiments
  • grateful for the patience
  • any future mishaps
  • can imagine how
  • can certainly understand your embarrassment
  • can be very frustrating
  • disappointment regarding
  • essential to smooth functioning of
  • further questions or concerns
  • how upset you must have been
  • know what it is like to be
  • prompt delivery is essential
  • sincerely appreciate your patience
  • thank you for your patience and understanding
  • the equanimity you showed after the incident
  • understand that
  • understanding concerning this matter

3. Mention any specific steps taken to correct the problem, if applicable. You may want to explain how the offense happened, but do not excuse it.

Sentences

  • Poor weather kept our driver from keeping his schedule. Nevertheless, we take full responsibility, and pledge to do our best to ensure that this will not happen again.
  • We have already purchased a new brand of packing boxes, which we hope will prevent similar problems in the future.
  • Enclosed is a revised report with corrected information. I told Jane it was my fault, not yours, that she had inaccurate statistics.
  • I was wrong and have no excuse, but this will not happen again.
  • Please find enclosed part #456 that will make your compressor complete.
  • We have canceled the overcharge to your account and fixed the computer error that caused it.
  • I have taken this matter up with John and he has assured me that he regrets his insensitive behavior.

Phrases

  • a revised report with corrected information
  • arrange for service and a replacement
  • assure you this will not happen again
  • assured me that there will be no repeat
  • doing what is fair for everyone
  • enclosed is a revised report
  • ensure that in the future this
  • follow up next week with
  • happy to ship you two cases of
  • happy to replace the
  • has been ill for the past week
  • have no explanation for our obvious error
  • have canceled the overcharge
  • have fixed the error that caused it
  • have made a special trip to investigate
  • have referred the matter to
  • have taken this matter up with
  • he has assured me that
  • make every effort to
  • pay for the damages caused by
  • perhaps we can provide you with
  • please forward the repair bills to
  • please find the enclosed part that
  • pledge to do our best to ensure that
  • reimburse you for your
  • return them for a full refund
  • take full responsibility
  • using resources to solve the problem
  • want to rectify the situation
  • will credit you the full amount
  • will avoid similar problems
  • will ship a new order
  • will follow up with
  • will not happen again
  • will honor your request
  • will prevent similar problems in the future
  • will resolve the problem

4. If you were previously unaware of the problem, thank the reader for bringing it to your attention.

Sentences

  • We had no idea that the rocker arm was defective. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.
  • It is fortunate for us that you were alert in catching this error. Thank you for pointing it out. Because of your comments, we have instituted a new procedure that will eliminate the problem.
  • We were unaware of this problem. Thank you for pointing it out to us.
  • Until now, no one has noticed any problems with this line of products. Thank you for drawing our attention to this defect.
  • Observant customers like you help us make Doe chocolates so delicious. Thank you for your concern.

Phrases

  • alert in catching this error
  • appreciate your comments
  • appreciate your pointing this out to
  • appreciate your letting us know about
  • are the first to notice this problem
  • because of your comments
  • bringing it to our attention
  • customers like you that help us
  • it is fortunate for us that
  • observant customers like you that
  • thank you for pointing out
  • thank you for your concern
  • thank you for drawing our attention to this defect
  • thank you for bringing it to our attention
  • unaware of this problem
  • until now, no one has noticed
  • were previously unaware of this problem
  • you were alert in

5. End with a positive statement and offer some form of compensation or restitution to the offended party, if appropriate.

Sentences

  • A replacement for your defective rocker arm is on its way to you. We hope that we can continue to count you as one of our satisfied customers. If you have further questions please call me at 555-5555.
  • We would like to compensate you for your inconvenience. We would be glad to refund the purchase price of your humidifier, repair the one you sent us, or send you a new one. Please let us know which you prefer. We value your patronage and are eager to see that you remain a satisfied customer.
  • Please accept the enclosed check as compensation for your damaged humidifier.
  • Thank you for pointing out this mistake to me. I am always open to constructive criticism.
  • Please accept the enclosed gift certificate as compensation for your inconvenience. We value your patronage and hope you will choose to shop with us again.
  • As a peace offering, I would like to reschedule for Wednesday, and allow me to provide lunch.
  • We thank you for your patience. Please call me at 555-5555 if you have further questions or concerns.

Phrases

  • a replacement for the defective part is on its way
  • accept the enclosed gift certificate as compensation for
  • although the problem was corrected immediately, my concern is
  • always eager to improve
  • gift certificate as compensation
  • hope you will choose to shop with us again
  • nothing would give us more pleasure than to
  • on its way to you
  • please accept the enclosed check as compensation
  • please let us know which you prefer
  • pointing out this mistake
  • remain a satisfied customer
  • the enclosed check as compensation
  • work harder than ever
  • compensate you for your inconvenience
  • value your patronage
  • want to make every transaction satisfactory

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