How To Write an Apology Email to Customers (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When a customer is upset or expresses frustration over buying your product or using your service, it's crucial to engage with them to understand what went wrong and to find an appropriate solution. A compelling apology email can turn around a negative experience, repair your reputation and convince a customer to trust you. It gives you a second chance to let a customer facing a difficult experience know that you genuinely want to provide a solution. In this article, we explore how to write an apology email with tips and examples to help you write one effectively.

What is an apology email and why would you write one?

Apologising over email is a way of engaging with a customer to let them know that you acknowledge their negative experience and want to assist them with a solution. It can help you develop and maintain a relationship with the customer, encourage them to maintain their loyalty to your brand and collect valuable feedback to make necessary changes to your products and services. An effective apology email:

  • Communicates clearly by using simple and effective words to demonstrate empathy and eagerness to help the customer

  • Appears professional with an official company email address containing the company's logo, the sender's identity, signature and contact details to lend credibility and sincerity to the apology

  • Uses personal touches by addressing the customer by their name and contains personal details pertinent to the issues under discussion

Related: How To Write an Apology Letter (With Templates and Examples)

When do you apologise over email to a customer?

It's best to send an apology email as soon as possible once you've received feedback from the customer identifying the problem. Sending an email early shows the customer that you're looking into the matter and treating their concern with urgency. Sending an apology email is also appropriate when accounting for the events that led to the customer's negative experience, providing a proper account of the mistakes and the steps you and your team are taking to address them.

In instances involving more than one customer having the same negative experience, you can write and send an email with the necessary information to multiple recipients. Here are some instances when it may be necessary to write and send an apology over email:

  • Issues with payment

  • Issues with delivery, including late delivery, wrong delivery or missing items

  • Unprofessional treatment of a customer

  • Recalling a product or cancelling a service

  • Damage to products or deficiency in service

How to apologise over email to a customer

Follow the steps below to write an effective apology email to a customer:

1. Begin with an opening statement

The statement at the beginning of your email should address the customer by name. This can also include a brief description of the issues that led to the experience. Remember to keep the wording of the opening statement simple and specific to the customer's experience. If you're sending the email to a number of customers facing the same issues, allow space to mention the customer by their name, while keeping the rest of the statement consistent.

2. Acknowledge and validate the customer's sentiments

It's important to acknowledge and validate the customer's feelings. Letting them know that you understand the issue and their frustration can help de-escalate a situation. Here are a couple of examples to help you with your email:

  • I understand how frustrating it is to receive a broken phone case, especially when you need it for your trip.

  • I can understand how difficult your experience has been, as it took over an hour to check-out from the hotel when you had a flight to catch. I'd be upset as well.

3. Explain the issue

After investigating and compiling your findings, explain the situation and make sure to address all the concerns of the customer. When explaining the events that led to the negative experience, include information that the customer may not know about. This shows the customer that you've taken the time to investigate the issue thoroughly. Don't take a defensive stance when explaining to the customer what went wrong. Instead, be transparent about the issues.

4. Apologise and take ownership of the mistakes

Regardless of whether the mistake was personal or that of your company, apologise to the customer. Try to mirror the customer's language and keep the wording simple and specific when you apologise. The apology creates the foundation to repair your relationship with the customer. Here are some examples to help you phrase your apology in the email:

  • It seems that we didn't attend to your request for a double bed in your booking. Please accept our sincere apologies for not honouring your request.

  • After looking at our accounts, I realise that you're right about the multiple charges to your credit card. I'm sorry that you've had to experience this.

5. Explain what solutions you can offer and politely request feedback

Provide a clear explanation of what you or your company can do to prevent this from happening again. This part of the email focuses on showing your commitment to making improvements and necessary changes. Some examples of solutions include making changes to a company policy, providing discounts for a future purchase or offering a refund for the purchase or exchange. If a customer was upset due to a company representative's unprofessional manner, you can also inform the customer of changes to existing staff training practices.

Use this opportunity to conclude by politely requesting that the customer provide their feedback. Understanding customer expectations through their feedback can help you be more perceptive of a customer's needs. You can request the customer to respond to the email or let them know that they can expect a separate email to complete a survey.

Related: Email Etiquette: Best Regards and Alternative Salutations

Tips on writing an email apology

Below are some tips to help you when apologising to a customer over email:

  • Start with a clear subject line. Write a personal subject line that can grab the attention of the customer, such as naming the issue or an apology.

  • Use an official email address. Make sure to use your professional email address, so that the customer can recognise where the email is coming from and its importance.

  • Show empathy. Write with an empathetic tone that is mindful of the customer's experience and frustrations that result from it. Let them know that you're there to assist them and to make them feel valued as a customer.

  • Show availability for further support. Even after apologising to the customer and providing a solution, let them know that you're available to assist them beyond solving their issues at any point in the future.

  • Proofread your email. Always check your email for any inaccuracies, errors and grammatical and spelling mistakes. You can have a supervisor or colleague read your email for a second opinion.

Related: Guide To Replying to an Email Professionally (With Examples)

Examples of apology emails

Below are examples that you can use to help you write your own email:

Example 1

Here's an email example that's aim is to resolve a customer service issue:

Dear Ms. Mok,

Thank you for your call regarding your reservation with our hotel. It seems that despite reserving and paying online through your card ending with 3412, your reservation didn't register in our system. Regrettably, the reservation that you've made has already been taken and the rooms in that category are fully booked. We've referred the glitch in our system to our technical services team, who have since resolved the problem.

I understand your frustration regarding this matter and I apologise for the inconvenience. I've taken the liberty to reserve a higher category room with an ocean view at no extra cost. Your previous payment has since been received and a complimentary lunch has been added to your reservation.

I hope you find this resolution acceptable and we thank you for choosing our hotel for your travels. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any queries.

Best regards,
Jane Siu
Customer service manager

Example 2

Here's an email example that apologises for a product defect:

Dear Mr. Chow,

Thank you for your patience while we were looking into the issue with your wireless charger. I can understand how frustrating it is to have bought an item that stopped working after two days of use. Before we ship our products, it goes through several quality checks and it's clear that this is a failure on our part. Please accept my sincere apologies for the disappointment and inconvenience caused.

As I write this email, a replacement for your purchase is on its way. Once you receive the replacement, you can return the defective charger to our delivery executive. I'd also like to take this opportunity to inform you that we've made several changes to our quality process. I'm also offering a discount of 30% on your next purchase through your account on our website.

Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention. Your feedback is valuable to us, so please do not hesitate to contact me or my team if you have further concerns and queries.

Andy Chan
Director of guest services

Explore more articles