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What is an Apology Email?

An apology email is an informal or formal email that is sent to a customer or client to acknowledge that you made a mistake.

An apology email is a way of letting your customer and client know that you are aware of the mistake that’s been made and as a way to inform them of how you will remedy the situation and show them what precautions you will be putting in place so this does not happen in future. 

Apology Letters

So, you made a mistake, everybody makes them it’s what you do after that matters.

An apology email sometimes referred to as an apology letter or apologising letter is crafted by a company or organisation to remedy a situation where a mistake has been made. 

The mistake can be something simple like email mistakes that have spelling mistakes, a broken link in an email or it can be bigger mistakes such as PR nightmares, wrong information for an event or wrong pricing on a product or service. These can be online or offline mistakes.

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Why is Writing an Apology Email to Customers Hard?

Many humans find it hard to apologise (or apologize for our American friends), “sorry is the hardest thing to say” comes to mind. When we are forced to apologise it is, for us confronting the error of our ways which for some, comes hard.  

Some other reasons why writing an apology email to customers is hard;

  • You may feel embarrassed or like a bad person

  • You feel you may let your team down or your manager

  • You are admitting to your mistakes and confronting them

  • There may be more chance now that people will blame you for other mistakes

Email Mistakes in the Workplace

When you have made an email mistake in your workplace this can sometimes be more confronting due to the added responsibilities of the workplace. Making an email mistake in the workplace is highly likely due to the nature of the day to day. 

Firstly, the best advice is to front up to your mistake.

Admit your mistake to your colleagues and organisation and work with them to find a solution. They can help you plan your next steps which may be crafting your apology email to the customer.

Apology Email Writing Assistants

When you craft your apology email, the good news is there are a number of tools out there you can use to help you write this, including writing assistants like Grammarly, Zoho and Linguix.

Email automation tools for apology emails

There are also tools that can help you prepare your email such as email automation tools.

Using email automation tools to send your apology email allows you to see how many people have engaged and actually opened your apology email.

This gives you a good indication of how many and more importantly who has read and seen your apology email. 

If you add a CTA for example; to download a free voucher or discount code as a token for their inconvenience you can also track how many people have taken you up on that offer. 

Be careful not to make any further mistakes when crafting and sending your apology email.

Top 5 Mistakes in Emails

  • Publishing to the wrong list of contacts

  • Email typos

  • Not including an unsubscribe link in the email

  • Incorrect information in the email

  • Incorrect pricing

What Should Be Included In Your Apologies Email For Mistake

We’ve established that sorry is one of the hardest things to say, so mastering how to write the perfect apology email will help to alleviate the pain.

5 Things to include in Your Apologies Email

    1. The word ‘sorry’ of course – If this doesn’t suit your brand voice then use something that will suit it, if it’s informal then something like, ‘oops we made a mistake or ‘apologies’ or ‘oopsie’.
    2. Outline the mistake – Try to not go into too much detail, a sentence or two will be sufficient. It is important that you own this mistake and you will take responsibility in your apology email.
    3. Remedy the mistake – Explain how you will fix the mistake and avoid making it again in the future.
    4. Acknowledge the pain points – If your mistake affected your client and stopped them from achieving their goals in one way or another, then address and acknowledge this and explain that you are aware of how your error caused an inconvenience to them.
    5. Ask for forgiveness – Again if this suits your brand voice then show your softer side. If this does not suit your brand voice then you could look to ask for feedback. This will give you insight into how you could improve and to what extent your mistake has had on your audience.

Brand Voice in Apology Email to Customers and Clients

Remember to stay on-brand with your apology emails and apology letters. If your tone of voice is quite serious then stick to a more formal tone for your apology email. 

If your brand can get away with being a little informal, then have a little fun with your apology email content.

You can show some personality, compassion and if appropriate you can inject some humour into your apology email.

Apology Email Examples

Mass Apology Email

Sending out mass apology emails for things like site speed, downtime and service disruption is quite common in the online sector.

Companies including online shopping, tech companies and online services all experience outages and slowness so will need to update their customers on why this may have been and let them know that they sympathise with them. 

This apologies email from Forever21 is colourful, humorous and generous.

How can you stay mad at a company that uses a cat in their apology email!

Source: Forever21

Senior Level Apology Email

Apologies sometimes need to come from the highest level. 

It’s important that customers are aware that the companies senior level is across these types of mistakes. 

This senior-level apology email has all 5 touchpoints. It includes the word sorry, outlines the mistake, remedies the mistake, acknowledges the pain points the customer has experienced and asks for forgiveness in a professional manner.

senior level apology email

Positive Apology Email

Everybody needs a bit of positivity in their life, and this example from the clothing brand Joules. It is offering everybody 25% off almost everything in their apology email as a way to say sorry for their technical issue.

positive apology email
Source: Joules

This example from Fab is another good example of how they have turned a negative moment into a positive moment. Cats again stealing all the glory in this apology email.

positive apology email
Source: Fab

Personal Apology Email

A personal apology email is usually reserved for a one on one situation.

It is usually sent to somebody if they have written in and complained or if an organisation has realised they have made a mistake to one individual or group.

The example below is a good example of being proactive with an apology to a customer and reassures the customer that they are concerned with the recent findings by asking for further feedback with their investigation. 

personal apology email

Personalisation in Apologies Email

Now we have established the different apology email mistakes and what we should include in our apology emails to clients and customers, it is important to remember at the end of the day, your audience is human and so are you! 

Make sure your apology email is personable, conversational, includes empathy and will resonate with your customers and clients.

Whilst technology, AI and data are all wonderful, so is the human touch.

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