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Business Apology Letter – An Overview and a Sample
A company that fails to deliver on its promise to a client should apologize. One way to say sorry to the customer is through an apology letter. A business apology letter sample can help build the content better and faster.
Whether a company makes a mistake, because of a human error, machine malfunction or other mistake that hurts the client, it’s prudent to apologize. Such a strategy helps remedy the situation and protect the enterprise reputation. Treat the business apology letter as the first step to soothe the hurt feelings of your client. Follow the letter with the solution that heals the problem.
Role of a business apology letter: It serves to fix the broken links in the client-company relationship. The letter shows that the company cares for the customer and is committed to providing quality customer service. It can convert an adverse situation into one that builds trust and brings in more business. An apology letter makes the customer view the organization in a positive light. Remember, if it’s fair or not, bad news about a business spreads faster than the good. And, today, social networking sites are a fertile platform to share the positive and negative company news. In such scenarios, apology letters are cushions that can reduce or eliminate the hard impact.
Business apology letter building blocks: Before you begin to pen the letter, gather all the information that has led you to write an apology. First, look at the contract with your customer. What part(s) of it was your company unable to implement? It could be, for example, the terms on the quality, quantity or delivery.
Next, check to whom you’ve to write the letter. Is it an individual or a company? The first case is straight forward. If it’s a company, make sure to send the apology to the person who’s been directly affected by the error. Or mail / e-mail the letter to the complainant, if applicable.
With the key info on your desk, craft the apology letter. Here are some tips:
- Write the letter in a professional way, as a message of concern, tone and style that represents the culture of your organization. Use the business apology letter sample that follows as a guide to architect your letter.
- Make sure in writing your letter that it reflects genuine care for the victim
- Express regret
- Explain the reasons that made the company to slip on its promise
- Do not defend your mistake
- Accept the full responsibility for the error
- State clearly when and how you will give the solution to the problem
- Guarantee that the company lapse will not recur again
- Compensate your client.
Timing the apology: Take a proactive step and apologize to your customer. You can do this when you’ve advance information about the error. When you or your staff spots the bungle, go into the damage control mode sooner. Such measures convey the message that your company strives for world class customer service where the customer comes first. Further, your remedial steps help douse a spark, which otherwise would transform into a fire. What if the client raises the red flag before you find out the mistake? Again, in almost all cases don’t wait to apologize and fix the problem and prevent your company's reputation from taking a dive.
Legal implications: An apology letter can work like a double-edge sword. You made a sincere effort to address the company error, but the letter might open the doors for a law suit. In sensitive cases, it’s good to follow prudence. Study the company fault and analyze it in the backdrop of the breadth and depth of the contract and the customer profile. For cases that might use the apology letter to land your company in a court, exercise caution. Consult your lawyer first and follow her advice to formulate the solution.
Image Credit: Image created by the author.
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Business Apology Letter – Sample
Dear Ms. Jane,
Please accept our apologies for shipping an office chair with a defective part. We are a company with a solid reputation for quality. Yet, we are embarrassed that we delivered a chair that’s of no use to you. Jane, we are very sorry.
XYZ Furniture uses an automated quality control system, which is so state-of-the-art, that it detects even negligible variations in the product specs. A few days ago, our IT department updated one of the system’s software modules. It had a glitch, which caused the QC system to malfunction. It in turn let the products that didn’t align with the quality parameters to pass a series of stringent tests. Our engineers have since fixed the problem and placed the quality controller back on its track.
We deeply regret about the unsatisfactory state of your shipment. We feel your anguish and are sorry for the same. You’ll receive a new chair within two business days. RRR parcel service will deliver the consignment and pickup the defective chair at no cost to you. XYZ will also apply a WW% discount on your order. We will credit the shipping and handling charges of $YY and the discount of $ZZ to your account in one business day.
One of XYZ most valuable assets are its customers – you. The problem in our software and its consequences on our clients and business has made us think, plan and implement new operational strategies. Because of this overhaul, we assure you XYZ will scale greater peaks in quality, reliability and customer service.
If I can be of further help, please do not hesitate to contact me direct at 201-XXX-XXXX. If you can’t reach me, just leave a message with my secretary. I will return your call at the first opportunity. Now, we request something back from you to help sustain XYZ position as the single resource for office furniture – your trust.