How to Nail That Apology Email

We all do our best to cross the t’s, dot the I’s, and smash our KPIs. But. Sometimes we mess up. Even if we cross all of our t’s and dot all of our I’s, we may not end up with our intended outcome. When it comes to a misstep internally, you have plenty of channels to own your mistakes, learn from them and reflect and redirect to avoid those moving forward.  

When it comes to a client, however, you need to nail that apology. You need to ensure that you are calm, in control, and remorseful but more focused on meeting their needs today and tomorrow. You have a plan. 

Even the best salespeople make mistakes, and you will need to apologize to your clients from time to time. Crafting a well-written apology email can help to restore trust and come out of that snafu stronger. Here are some tips for nailing that apology email for those in sales and account management:  

  • Be sincere: 

Express genuine remorse for any inconvenience or negative experience that the client may have had due to you, your product or company. A sincere apology can go a long way in demonstrating your commitment to the relationship and to providing excellent customer service. 

Never say something like “I’m sorry that you feel that way.” It’s such a cop out. If you’re actually sorry, apologize for what YOU did. 

Sarah Rubinson Levy
  • Own it 

Take responsibility for any mistakes that were made, without making excuses or shifting blame onto others. Finger-pointing is the worst thing that you can do. Own up to your mistake and express your regret for any inconvenience or frustration it caused. By taking ownership of the mistake, you’re demonstrating that you’re committed to finding a solution and preventing similar issues in the future. 

Own what you’ve done or how something you’ve done was perceived – clearly, and concisely. Apologize and then move on. If it’s a serious mistake, don’t rely on email. Follow up with a call. Of course, on your own time, reflect on what happened, learn from it and do better next time. 

  • Explain what happened 

Be transparent about what happened. Your client deserves to know what went wrong and why it happened. Provide a clear and concise explanation of what happened to cause the mistake. Help the client understand the situation. Avoid providing them with a platform to jump to conclusions and/or make assumptions. Helping your client understand the situation could help prevent similar mistakes in the future. Keep your explanation concise and to the point.  

Show that you understand the impact of your mistake on your client. This demonstrates empathy and helps build trust. You can say something like, “We understand that this mistake has caused you to lose valuable time and resources.” 

  • Offer a solution 

There are always multiple perspectives and approaches to any challenge or opportunity. Exercise the diversity of your team in generating solutions. Brainstorm with your team to come up with possible solutions. Focus on bringing ideas together from multiple stakeholders within your company and fielding suggestions and advice from other departments. 

Offer a solution or a plan for how you will rectify the mistake and make things right. This can include offering a refund, a discount on future purchases, providing additional services or support, or simply providing a detailed plan for how you will prevent similar mistakes from happening in the future. Be clear about what you’re offering, and make sure it’s something that will address your client’s concerns. Make sure that you follow up with whatever solution you land on. Demonstrate that you can be held accountable and be relied on.  

Videos make it more personal. Send a video. A video is genuine, sincere and shows that you’ve gone to the effort which hopefully makes it meaningful. I havent done it yet (no need), my colleague has though :smiling_face_with_tear:

Guy Murgatroyd, Business development Director at PreviewMe
  • Wrap it up on a positive note 

Express gratitude for your client’s business and reaffirm your commitment to providing excellent customer service and value. This can help to leave a lasting positive impression and may even turn a negative experience into a positive one. [Insert finger’s crossed emoji.] Reiterate your appreciation for your client’s business.  

While admitting a mistake may seem scary or risky, it demonstrates your ability to see situations clearly and your openness to feedback and accountability. Seize the opportunity to transform a negative experience into an opportunity to rebuild the trust and goodwill that might have otherwise been lost. 

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