Writing an apology letter to a customer may seem difficult. If you are an employee, you may think that admitting a mistake could negatively impact your job. If you own or manage a business, you may fear that accepting responsibility could damage the business’s reputation or customer base. However, a well-written formal apology letter can actually help you and your business recover from a blunder and keep valuable customers.
It’s essential to take the utmost care when constructing your apology. If your letter is sloppy or vague, your customer may interpret your apology as insincere. This can result in earning a damaging review and losing valuable business. Review our apology letter for customer templates and writing tips below to create a professional and effective letter that appeases your customer.
Apology Letter for Customer Template
Look at the example of an apology letter for a customer below. Elizabeth Terry owns a small restaurant. One evening, a server accidentally spilled a drink on a customer’s shirt. Elizabeth was not present during this mishap, and her wait staff did not follow the correct procedure to fix the situation. As a result, the customer left the restaurant resolving not to return.
I want to apologize for your poor dining experience in Town & Country Café on September 15. I understand that a food server tripped as he walked by you, spilling a beverage on your shirt as you dined. After investigating this matter and talking to my wait staff, I learned that management did not follow the correct procedure to remedy this mistake.
As the owner of this restaurant, I take full responsibility for the poor treatment you received. I failed to properly prepare my staff for this type of situation. I have since implemented a mandatory training program concerning customer service and complaint resolution for all of my staff to attend to ensure this mishap does not happen again. Please feel free to send me your dry-cleaning bill or the receipt for a new shirt so I can reimburse you in full.
I value your patronage and ask that you consider coming back to Town & Country Café so my staff and I can make amends and provide you with exceptional service to make up for this mistake. Included with this letter is a $50 gift card that you can apply to any meal. I apologize again and hope to see you in the near future.
How To Write an Apology Letter for a Customer
Mistakes, while unpleasant and embarrassing, are inevitable. However, a formal apology letter can transform a displeased customer into a satisfied, returning one. The purpose of this message is to acknowledge your responsibility for the blunder, apologize, and offer to fix the mistake for the customer’s convenience. If applicable, your letter can also include an explanation for the mistake.
Remember that your audience is a customer who feels overlooked or inconvenienced, so maintain a professional, remorseful tone throughout your message. The most important part of your letter is the actual apology. Get straight to the point by explicitly apologizing in the first or second sentence so your customer understands immediately the purpose of your letter. Identify the mistake and offer a brief explanation.
Afterwards, admit your fault in the mishap and take full responsibility. If you look at our apology letter for customer template, you can see that while Elizabeth was not actively involved in the mistake, she accepts blame and states that she failed to properly train her staff to handle the incident.
Next, communicate to your customer the steps you are taking to ensure this mistake does not happen again. Depending on the blunder, you may mention updating a system or policy or retraining staff. This shows your customer that you empathize and take the mistake seriously.
Finally, offer some form or tangible reparation for the customer’s inconvenience. This could come in the form of a partial or total refund, complimentary service, or discounted product. Concluding your apology letter in this way, along with a reiterated apology, increases your chances of appeasing the customer enough to continue using your business’s services.
What To Avoid in Your Apology Letter for a Customer
As you write your letter, beware common pitfalls that accompany formal apologies. The first mistake to avoid is casting blame elsewhere, as this defeats the main purpose of the letter: to accept responsibility and apologize for your business’s error. You may feel the customer was partially at fault, but focus only on the errors that occurred on your end. For instance, even if Elizabeth learned that the server tripped over the customer’s own briefcase that he left in the aisle, she should concentrate on her staff’s missteps following the accident.
Another equally damaging mistake to avoid at all costs is creating a letter that is too vague or generic. This makes your apology seem insincere, which could alienate your customer from your business even more. Address the specific blunder that inconvenienced your patron and offer detailed ways you are willing to fix the problem to show that your apology is heartfelt.
How To Follow Up After Sending Your Apology Letter for a Customer
There are different ways to follow up after sending an apology letter to a customer, depending on your business and the customer. In many cases, the apology letter is sufficient and reaching out again is unnecessary. However, if this customer regularly frequented your business, or if you are very concerned about retaining his or her business, you may want to follow up once more. Contact the customer via telephone or email a few days after sending your formal apology to confirm he or she received it. Once you establish this, ask if your remedial action satisfies the customer and discuss further solutions if appropriate.
Top 5 Apology Letter for Customer Writing Takeaways
1. Make your apology letter specific
Identify the particular mistake that affected the customer’s experience with your business. Refrain from broad and unclear wording to show that you care about this individual customer.
2. Accept the blame for the blunder
The purpose of this letter is to apologize, not argue. Take full responsibility for the mistakes you or your staff made, and resist the temptation to directly or subtly shift blame elsewhere.
3. Emphasize that the mistake will not happen again
In your letter, write how you are taking steps to ensure the mistake does not repeat itself in the future. This shows that you take the error seriously as well as validates the customer’s feelings.
4. Offer to fix the mistake in some way
Offer reparation in some form to appease your customer. Refunds and full or partial discounts on future purchases may help retain your customer’s loyalty to your business.
5. Apologize clearly
It is important to accept responsibility, assert that the mistake will not happen again, and offer solutions for the customer’s inconvenience. However, the most crucial part of your apology letter for a customer is the apology itself. Make sure you write “I apologize” or “I am sorry” at least once in your letter.