How To Write An Apology Letter

No matter how careful a business is, there comes a time when a business has to apologize for something. It could be a result of miscommunication, improper conduct or a deal gone wrong.

When something goes wrong, a business is usually expected to apologise for their part. In business, something as simple as an apology has to be done in a formal way, not just a generic “We are sorry”. Writing an apology letter to your clients shows them that you care about them, you are reaching out to them to fix your mistake.

In this article we are going to discuss how to discuss how to properly write an apology letter.

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What is an apology letter?

An apology letter is a formal letter written to offer an apology.

No matter how big or small the issue is, an apology letter should sound sincere enough to show the customers that you have them at heart. Even when the letter has to distributed en mass, each and everyone of your readers should feel like it was written specifically for them.

Why an apology letter is so hard to write

Crafting an apology letter is usually hard for many reasons, such as:

  • Many people do not want to apologize because they are afraid of owning up their mistakes. They think making mistakes reflects poorly on our character.
  • Some people tend to get defensive when their mistakes are highlighted. Getting defensive is worst thing anyone can do when expected to apologize.

Things to do before writing an apology letter

Apologising isn’t always easy and an apology done the wrong can create more problems. For many people it take some experience or practice to write a good apology letter. Here are some of the things you should do before writing an apology letter:

1. Take time to collect your thoughts before writing anything

Before writing an apology letter it is important to calm down and collect your thoughts. Whether you are right or wrong, don’t be tempted with the urge to start by defending yourself.

Sometimes when the customer expresses their unhappiness in an unpleasant way, you might feel upset or confused. If you are feeling that way then you are in no mood to write anything useful. A delayed apology is better than a poorly written apology.

Take time to collect your thoughts, whether it takes a few minutes or a full day. In the meantime you can send an acknowledgement letter while waiting to collect your wits enough to write an apology letter.

2. Look at the situation from the customer’s perspective

For every situation that warrants an apology, its very important to look at the situation from the customer’s perspective. Put yourself in their shoes and try to see their point of view. Try to understand what made them upset.

Even if you don’t see a reason for the customer to be upset, remember what you tolerate isn’t necessarily tolerable to everyone. Try to imagine how you would free if you thought you were betrayed by the brand you love the most, then make a list of all the points you would want hear as a customer.

Then craft your apology around this list.

How to write a good apology letter

The following guidelines apply whether you’re apologizing for a personal error, on behalf of a team or on behalf of a business.

  • Say you’re sorry without getting defensive. Don’t say,”I’m sorry, but . . .”
  • Own the mistake. Show the complainant that you’re willing to take responsibility for your actions.
  • Describe what caused the mistake, so that the wronged person can understand what happened. If you are apologizing for a team, avoid shifting the blame to another member of the team.
  • Show the wronged party that you have a plan to rectify the situation.
  • Ask for forgiveness.

Example of a good apology letter

A publishing company posted an insensitive post about people who are failing to secure employment. There is a backlash from the public and the company decides to apologize.

Dear Valued Readers,

On behalf of [Company Name], I extend our sincerest apologies for the post on unemployment that we ran on our website on [Date]. We are truly sorry for the insensitivity we showed. When we planned that pot, we clearly failed to take into consideration how it would affect the millions out there who are unemployed for different reasons that we do not know. We should have done our research very well to understand all the causes of unemployment before publishing that post.

It was never our intention to cause anyone distress. We however promise that next time we wont publish any post without considering how it would affect all of you.

We have a very high opinion of you and your opinion of us matters the most. Your continued support is what makes us who we are. I hope you’ll forgive us for causing you unnecessary distress. As a company we have seen it fit to give everyone a 20 percent discount on your monthly subscriptions for the rest of the year as a thank-you, should you decide to stay with us.

All the best,


Juliet Muturuki

Quantity Surveyor and Freelance Writer.

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