How to Professionally Apologize to Customers For Bad Service.

Whether you are working in marketing, service, customer support, or sales, most of your responsibility is focused on providing the best experience to your customers. Sometimes, however, things might go differently than intended, and mistakes can occur.

But the only sure approach to turn around a bad situation is by owning up to the mistake and apologizing. Although it may seem challenging, clear communication, responsibility, and strategic approaches will help you amend the issue without losing the client.

Read through this article to learn how to write a customer apology note and why it is vital for businesses.

Common mistakes customer support attendants make when apologizing

Making an apology is an art. Some people know their way around it, while others struggle with making an apology look genuine. This phenomenon is true with businesses.

Many companies will write a customer apology letter for bad service but do it in a manner that is insincere and leaves a sour taste. And even worse, some apologies achieve the direct opposite of the primary intention by driving customers even further away.

Ensure you avoid these mistakes when making an apology to clients for poor services:

  • Talking down customers’ feelings, like telling them no one has ever raised such complaints to you.
  • Making promises, you can’t keep. For example, saying that the problem won’t happen again, but you are not sure.
  • Failing to take responsibility for the mistake.
  • Giving a vague apology. E.g., just saying, “a problem happened in our systems, but we’ve identified it and resolved the issue.”
  • Providing too many apologies. For instance, “we are very sorry. There are no words that can explain how sorry we are.”
  • Giving a begrudging apology, e.g., telling the client, “we didn’t do anything bad, but we are sorry if that makes you okay.

An insincere or superficial apology is even worse than giving no apology at all. Also, avoid buying off customers’ feelings by providing gifts or offers instead of apologizing. By avoiding these mistakes and sticking to best practices in making apologies to customers, you also increase customer satisfaction rates, reduced churn, and improve revenue.

Apology Best Practices

At some point, a mistake may occur, causing poor customer service. Perhaps your customer attendant messed up with the customer’s order, or your website crashed.

write a customer apology note

Author credit: By Deskolinsore – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

When this scenario happens, and you are needed to write a customer apology note, stick to the following apology best practices.

  1. Identify your mistakes as soon as possible

Before you write a customer apology note, it is vital to figure out why the customer is upset. The problem may be specific to the customer’s use case or a general one.

Explaining what happened and what you will do (or what you have done) is the easiest way to incorporate the primary components of apology, including acknowledgment, remorse, and solution.

The best way to allow your team to detect mistakes as they happen is to set automated notifications in the customer success tool. With a robust customer success tool, you are able to know exactly when to contact customers and apologize through automation.

  1. Admit the mistake

Although you should not apologize too much, it does not mean you should not apologize at all. On the other hand, no apology is acceptable without a heartfelt plea for forgiveness. A simple statement like “we are sorry, we hope you can forgive us” can be a game changer in restoring your client’s trust and loyalty.

Keep the apology short, precise, and sweet. Avoid being too dramatic or histrionic. Again, you should not come off as trite or insincere, so always hold on to basics. Doing this will display you as more authentic and attract your customers.

Remove your ego from the process and admit you are at fault. Accept that you are the one who messed up the client’s order or failed to reply to a customer issue in time. Do this in a manner that clarifies who the offender and the offended party are.

The secret is to take full ownership. If you give a begrudging apology to customers, then you might as well forget the customers. Avoid dismissive comments that can cause a negative result in the name of giving an apology.

  1. Explain what happened

Admitting your mistakes is almost meaningless if you cannot explain the cause of the mistake and what transpired. When handling angry customers, it is important to empathize with cold truth. You can dissolute the tense situation by politely the series of events that caused the bad customer service experience.

Explaining what happened in detail shows that your business took time to thoughtfully approach customers’ complaints and unearth all the facts. Also, giving clear explanations open up opportunity for the client to listen to you and remain a loyal customer.

Maybe the cause of poor customer experience was not your company’s creation, so unless you explain and explore the issue thoroughly, the customers will always doubt what occurred.

  1. Outline the solution

The reason for raising a complaint is to get attention and response. For this reason, every customer complaint carries the expectation of a relevant solution. When you write a customer apology note, insist on acknowledging the customer’s objective.

Whether it is a delayed order, a power outage, or a negative interaction with a customer support assistant, every complaint is raised with a specific result in mind. Identify this in your apology note, and you will be midway to solving the problem.

Next, you will need to outline the steps you intend to take moving forward. In giving actionable ways, you will convince them that you are serious about their complaints. Doing this will not only soothe the frustrations but will also help your business by identifying pain points and solving them.

  1. Follow-up

After you’ve delivered your apology, don’t just assume everything is completed. After you write a customer apology note, you’ll need to plan a follow-up engagement with the customer.

Contact customers through appropriate avenues after a reasonable time span to confirm if the apology delivered the required results or if you need to do more to make it effective. In the follow-up message, state any changes you have implemented since your last message and show how the complaint has impacted your business procedures moving forward.

Your clients will appreciate the consistent effort and recognize the far you are taking to ensure their needs are appreciated, solved, and implemented as a policy within your operations.

  1. Offer compensation if necessary

Sometimes your customers who have raised complaints deserve a service credit or refund. If they fail to use your services for an extended period of time or have SLAs or a built-in guarantee into your terms and conditions, then proactively give a credit.

This is a small token of appreciation for their patience when solving the issue. Offering compensation not only supports your apology but also creates improved goodwill.

  1. Learn from the mistake

If you feel you write a customer apology note for every negative experience each time of your interactions, then you might be having a much bigger problem than you think. Your customer support team should not be a barrier to ongoing issues.

Have a record of customers who called for apologies and their reasons for the same. If you are seeing an ongoing trend for several months, it is worth sharing it with the rest of the company to get a long-lasting solution. In short, it is vital you learn from the mistakes by noting their trends, reasons, and what you need to do to bring them to an end once and for all.


The customer is always the king. It may be a saying, but it is especially true when it comes to making an apology for poor customer service. If your business is at fault for an inaccurate communication, service outage, or billing error, it is important to own up to the mistake.

Follow these steps when you want to write a customer apology note; identify the mistake as soon as possible, admit it, explain what transpired, give solution guidelines, follow up on the matter, offer compensation, and learn from the mistake.

Managing customer feedback is an ongoing and full-time task, more so if it comes to addressing their queries. Do your company a favor and set aside the time and resources needed to investigate the problem and give a well-informed, effective, and considerate solution.

The best thing about offering an apology to customers is that it is free, especially if you have an effective and reusable template.