How to write an apology email to a customer

Having to write an apology letter or apology email to a client? Then read on…

I regularly buy books from a company called Packt Publishing ( and last week I realised that I hadn’t receive a book I’d ordered at the end of September.

So, I visited their website and filled in the contact form to let them know that I was missing a book.

I didn’t receive a response within a day so I phoned them to find out what was going on. The guy on the phone was very understanding and apologetic and agreed to send out another copy since the first one must have got lost in transit.

However, The day after that I received an apology email from Packt and this is what it said:

Dear Karl,

Thank you for contacting

Firstly please let me apologize for the delay in delivering the book to you. Usually all postal shipments are delivered within 8-10 days. It appears that your order is lost in shipment. Our sincere apologizes for the inconvenience caused.

However you need not worry as I have placed the free replacement copy of the print book of Sugar CRM in your account. This book should be delivered to you soon.

Please let me know if you have any questions, I’ll be glad to answer.

Once again our sincere apologies for the trouble this has caused you.

With warm regards

For Packt Publishing

Verus Pereira
Sales Executive

Now, when things get lost in transit I can understand how frustrating that is for both sides of a purchase.

But the point I’d like to make is that Packt have, in my view, treated me very fairly and have apologised profusely for the situation – even though it probably wasn’t their fault.

What I like most, though, was that email.

They didn’t blame anybody or try to justify anything.

It made me feel like a valued customer because they apologised twice within the first few sentences, they told me exactly what should have happened, they told me what they were doing to fix the problem and what I can expect as a result, and then finished the email with another apology for the inconvenience.

So, to finish off, if you ever get into a problem situation with a client just think about how that apology email was structured and how you might be able to use it to make your customer feel as though they’re important.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve had similar experiences:

6 thoughts on “How to write an apology email to a customer”

  1. Perfect wording. Could not have dais it better myself. Thank you for this apology email -as sometimes it happens that mail does get lost – and I am all about making and keeping my customers happy. I hope you don’t mind – but I used wording similiar in an email I had to send someone. – Thanks again!

  2. Your article was a huge help to our small business. We really value the relationship we have with our clients and when unforseen circumstances, occasionally raise their ugly heads, it’s really nice to have some valuable advice on how to handle these situations. A great article, well written. Thank you!

  3. Yeah very usful emial, but can you guid me about the appologized email for advertising costumer? when we miss communicate with each other. for example;
    the lightbox is cutting off and they inform us about that problem, but i didn’t inform them about this case how is going on? now they angry very much. so how could i write a polite word to relese their anger?
    Really thank for your emil.
    Best Regards

    1. Karl Craig-West

      The first thing I would do is acknowledge the problem and then promise to fix it quickly. If you’ve not communicated problem then own up and then own the problem. You may need to offer the client a bonus by way of apology but, in my experience, most clients are happy if you’ve owned up and resolved to sort things out.

  4. Thanks for the stuff about Fedex – I felt unhappy about receiving a 15€ charge for collecting 2€ sales tax on an item ordered from the USA.

    It’s an interesting fact that when a customer has a problem which is corrected promptly and courteously, their level of satisfaction with the supplier is generally higher than that of customers that had no problems at all.

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