Apologize For a Missed Deadline - Letters

Example Letter #1

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I am truly sorry and very embarrassed about not finishing the report by the deadline. I know you are eager to have the entire study completed by June 1, so I am working nights to have this to you by May 25. You can count on it being delivered by special mail on or before that date. I will do everything I can to make this project a success. I appreciate the opportunity to work on it, and I thank you for your patience.

Example Letter #2

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My response to your January 5 survey is enclosed. I apologize for missing your January 15 deadline. Our students returned to school on January 7, and I have been very busy with the new semester. Still, I have made every effort to give you accurate information. Even though my response is late, I hope you will be able to use it in your final document.

Example Letter #3

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We are sorry that we were unable to deliver your furniture yesterday. Because we have only two delivery people, we were left shorthanded when one of them became ill.

To ensure that this does not happen again, we have hired temporary workers and rescheduled your delivery appointment for 9:00 a.m. Friday morning. We appreciate your patience. Your business is important to us, and we hope that this incident will not hurt our relationship.

Example Letter #4

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I am sorry I missed last week's deadline for registration for the small business owners' convention. I was not sure until today whether I would be able to attend. I hope you are still able to accept my registration, which I have included with a check. If so, please send me confirmation of my enrollment; if not, please return the check to me. Thank you for your assistance with this matter.

Example Letter #5

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I apologize for not getting the brochure materials to you on time. Unfortunately, we needed some changes in the art work, and they will take several more days to complete. I should have all the materials ready by Tuesday of next week, and will deliver them to you personally at that time. I would appreciate your printing the brochures as soon as possible after that.

I realize that this tardiness affects your printing schedule, and apologize for any inconvenience this delay may have caused you.

Letter-Writing Tips

Apologize for a missed deadline as soon as possible after the incident. The tone of your letter should be very considerate and respectful because you have probably caused some inconvenience. The letter should focus on actions taken to make up for the missed deadline. A sincere, well-worded apology followed by positive action can do much to undo any damage to your reputation.

Step-by-Step Guide

1 Begin with a straightforward apology.

Sentences
  • I am sorry I missed the deadline yesterday. I know it was an important one.
  • We are sorry that the motor you ordered arrived after the date requested for delivery.
  • Thank you for your generous offer to extend the deadline. This will help us immensely. Nevertheless, we apologize for putting you in this position.
  • I apologize for not getting the Doe report to you on Wednesday.
  • I apologize for missing today's deadline for getting all blueprints for the new Springfield office complex to the surveyors.
  • Although tomorrow is the deadline we agreed upon for finishing our project, I must apologize for the fact that it will not be completed.
  • We apologize for not installing your new water heater on the day we had planned.
Phrases
  • accept our sincerest apologies
  • apologize for not getting the report to you on time
  • apologize for putting you in this position
  • apologize for not getting the claim information to you earlier
  • apologize for not being ready to install your
  • apologize for missing this morning's deadline
  • delays due to inadequate planning
  • inadvertently filed instead of mailed
  • problems completing your newsletter on time
  • simply too big for me to finish in the allotted time
  • sorry I missed the deadline
  • sorry that it arrived after the deadline
  • sorry about the missed deadline
  • was under the false impression that
  • will be impossible to complete the project by the deadline

2 State what action you will take to remedy the situation. Explain (but do not excuse) your tardiness, if appropriate. Reaffirm your commitment to making things right.

Sentences
  • Although I have been working overtime on this project for the past few days, I underestimated the time it would take to process the Doe data. But, as you can see by the enclosed sample of my work-in-progress, the project is progressing well.
  • We take full responsibility for missing the deadline. We have assigned extra personnel to the Doe contract to ensure that this project is indeed done by Wednesday.
  • Unusual weather conditions kept our driver from keeping to his schedule. Nevertheless, we take full responsibility and pledge to do our best to ensure that this will not happen again.
  • I have not yet received the needed information on the Doe contract from Jane. She has promised me that as soon as she returns from the convention, she will send the documents to me by express mail. We can trust Jane to do this.
  • I have no excuse for my tardiness. You will have a copy of the finished report on your desk first thing tomorrow morning.
  • I have already gotten in touch with Doe Surveyors and they assure me that they do not need the blueprints today. Nevertheless, I am committed to meeting the deadline, so they will have the prints by this afternoon.
  • We at Doe Water Heaters pride ourselves on prompt service. Unfortunately, the sudden freeze has overloaded our delivery personnel, but we promise that we will install your new heater tomorrow morning.
Phrases
  • revised a more realistic plan for
  • as soon as I sign the documents
  • as soon as she returns she will
  • called the company this morning and
  • committed to timely performance
  • confirmed that he received it this morning
  • devote extra energy to ensuring its accuracy
  • discuss ways in which this project can
  • first thing tomorrow morning
  • full responsibility for missing the deadline
  • has promised me that
  • have already called ahead to make sure that
  • have been working overtime on this project
  • have assigned extra personnel to
  • have already gotten in touch with
  • said he had a detailed list for
  • the completed report will be on your desk by
  • they have assured me that
  • to compensate for your inconvenience we will
  • underestimated the time it would take
  • will mail a copy to you
  • will send the documents by express mail

3 Thank the reader for his or her understanding. Indicate that you value your business relationship and assure the reader you will not repeat your tardiness.

Sentences
  • I will not let this happen again. I appreciate your understanding and your willingness to keep working with us.
  • Since we are in the same business as you are, we understand that the prompt delivery of merchandise is essential for the company to function smoothly.
  • We value the business relationship we have with your company and are eager to keep you as one of our satisfied customers. We thank you for your tolerance of this unusual situation, and promise you prompt delivery of future reports.
  • Thank you for working with us to develop an alternate plan for completion. We have always considered it a pleasure to work with your friendly staff.
  • I know this deadline was a top priority for you. It was for me, too, and I assure you I will meet the next one.
  • I want to thank you for the way you handled this problem. I am sure I placed you in an awkward position, and for that I apologize. I am committed to this project and assure you this will not happen again.
  • We understand that such inconveniences can be very frustrating. Thank you for your patience.
  • I know what it is like to have someone fail to follow through on a commitment, so I sincerely appreciate your patience. I assure you that the report will be on your desk Monday morning.
  • We consider you one of our best clients, and appreciate your willingness to extend the deadline.
Phrases
  • always considered it a pleasure to work with your
  • am committed to this project
  • appreciate your understanding
  • appreciate your willingness to extend the
  • appreciate your giving us the opportunity to
  • assure you I will not repeat my tardiness
  • assure you prompt delivery of the
  • assure you that this
  • eager to keep you as one of our many satisfied customers
  • essential to the smooth functioning of your company
  • let us know what you would like us to do
  • sincerely appreciate your patience
  • sincerely appreciate the confidence that
  • thank you for the way you handled this problem
  • thank you for your understanding
  • thank you for your patience
  • thank you for working with us on
  • the confidence you have placed in our staff
  • the assurance of my full cooperation
  • value the business relationship we have with your company
  • value customers like you
  • will meet future deadlines
  • will not let this happen again
  • will keep in close touch with
  • you are generous to
  • your willingness to work with us
  • your tolerance of this unusual situation

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