How to write an apology letter to customers

No matter how hardworking or responsible of an employee you are, everyone makes mistakes. It’s not the mistake you make that will have an impact on your career, it’s how you come back from that error.

Clients understand that you’re human, and it’s OK for you to slip up every once in awhile. However, your customers may be even more understanding if you issue them an apology letter. A brief, yet sincere note, acknowledging your mistake can show your client that you care, and that their business is important to you.

Writing an apology letter, however, may not be as straightforward as sending birthday cards or congratulations cards. Keep these tips and suggestions in mind when writing your apology letter:

Hand write it
A handwritten apology letter appears much more sincere than one that was emailed or typed out. It demonstrates that the customer means enough to you that you took the time to sit down and write this letter by hand. Make sure that what you’re writing is legible. Take your time – this will ensure that your sentences flow and that your handwriting can be easily read.

Get right to it
This letter should be mailed as soon as possible. The longer you wait to send it out, the angrier your customer could get.

The whole purpose of an apology letter is to take responsibility for something you did, so you should do just that. Explain what happened, and how sorry you are that the unfortunate event or incident took place. Be specific about exactly what you’re sorry for. State in the letter that you are taking full responsibility for the error and that you’re completing the necessary steps to fix the problem.

What are you going to do about it?
Now that you’ve acknowledged that you’ve made an error, explain to the customer how you’re going to fix it or make it right. Avoid any generic statements such as “We hope to avoid these types of mistakes in the future.” Instead, get specific about what you plan to do in both the short and long term. Here are a few examples:

Short-term solution: I’ve scheduled a time this week to meet with you to discuss the issue and how we can prevent this from happening in the future.

Long-term solution: I will follow up with you personally in the coming months to ensure that our service [or product] is appropriately meeting your needs.

Finish with another apology
It’s important to reiterate the point of the letter, which is how sorry you are that you made an error in the first place. You could end your letter with something like this:

“Again, I offer my sincere apologies, and will personally see to it that this doesn’t happen again. I value your continued loyalty, and look forward to serving you in the future.”

Nobody has fun writing an apology letter, but it’s a part of doing business, and it’s important to get familiar with their format, just in case you have to write one in the future. A simple letter could convince a customer of yours to remain loyal instead of reaching out to your competitors.