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How to write an apology letter, email, and text message

Mistakes happen. If you’ve ever struggled to write an apology, our apology message guide is for you.

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Whether it’s miscommunication or a series of events outside of your control, mistakes and accidents are a part of life.

As a business, customer satisfaction can be jeopardized when things don’t go according to plan. On those occasions, the most important thing to do is apologize.

Not only does an apology letter acknowledge accountability, it also lets customers know they’ve been heard. It shows you care and have gone out of your way to communicate with the customer.

We all know what we want the end result to be… and yet somehow, actually writing an apology letter is easier said than done.

If you’re struggling to put pen to paper (or the modern equivalent), we’re here to help with these examples of the ideal apology letter, email, and text message.

What should you include in an apology message?

Accepting faults isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary. No matter the situation, these components always make up a heartfelt apology. 

  1. Use the words ‘I’m/We’re sorry.’ 

The caveat is, you can’t say ‘but’, or ‘sorry you felt this way’. If you beat around the bush your customers will be able to tell, so the best thing to do is be upfront and apologize clearly.

  1. Accept responsibility

Show your customer that you understand what the complaint or problem is. Referring to the issue raised demonstrates that you’ve listened to the customer and recognized what needs to be addressed.

  1. Explain what went wrong

If complaints are being made, the chances are something somewhere went wrong. Explain what happened without deflecting the blame elsewhere.

  1. Share your plan

How are you going to right the wrong? What measures are you going to put in place, if necessary, to ensure it doesn’t happen again? Let the customer know how you plan to fix the issue.

  1. Ask for forgiveness

This doesn’t need to be the end of the road, and asking for forgiveness is the quickest way to ensure it isn’t. Once you’ve addressed and solved the problem, underline your apology by showing some humanity and asking to be forgiven.

Apology message examples

Depending on your most-used method of communication, getting all five points across in one message can be easier said than done.

Use these examples as a guide to how to write a sincere apology message.

3 examples of an apology letter

Usually a more formal method of communication, an apology letter has enough room for you to add in as much or little information as you like. 

We recommend sticking to the facts and making your apology clear from the start. 

Mass apology letter

Dear Valued Customer,

We’re writing to apologize for the inconvenience caused by delays over the holiday period. We understand how frustrating it must be for those awaiting deliveries from our warehouse.

Unfortunately, there has been a severe delay due to staff illness and the rise in Covid cases. However, we are endeavoring to ensure all deliveries sent before 12/19 are completed before Christmas. 

If you have questions or would like to reach out to our customer service team regarding your order, please don’t hesitate to contact us on [XXX-XXX-XXXX].

We hope you will forgive us for the disruption caused by these delays. We pride ourselves on running a smooth order-to-delivery process, and hope you will consider using us again in the future. 

Kind Regards,

[CEO/Founder/Head of Relevant Department]

Third-party apology letter

Dear Mr. Simmons, 

On behalf of XXX customer service team, I would like to apologize for the less than satisfactory customer service experience you received from Joshua.

Upon investigating your complaint, it is clear that you were not treated professionally or with the care and respect we pride ourselves on providing all our customers. As Joshua’s manager, I can confirm that her behaviour has led to disciplinary action, and I take full responsibility for ensuring our staff are trained effectively when interacting with customers.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. On behalf of the company, please find a $25 voucher redeemable online or in any of our stores.

Yours Sincerely,

[Manager name]

Personal apology letter

Dear Karen,

I apologize profusely for making an inappropriate, ill-timed joke at your expense during our recent event. I recognize the harm this has caused you, it is never my intention to upset anyone.

Upon reflection, I realize the seriousness of my words and how they have impacted you. I pride myself on making people laugh and lightening the mood, however, I took the joke too far this time.

I humbly ask if you will consider forgiving me. I will of course be apologizing in person at the next opportunity.

Kind Regards,


3 examples of an apology email

As 306 billion emails are sent each day, we’re willing to bet a percentage of them are apology emails.

Sending an apology by email is a fine line between the formal and informal, depending on how you go about it. 

These three emails clearly show the different ways you can apologize to your customers. 

Mass apology email

When an accident happens or something malfunctions for a large portion of your audience, you may need to remedy the situation as soon as possible.

A quick email acknowledging that you’re onto the situation and apologizing for any issues caused is the best way to go about this.

An apology notice from a brand

Personalized apology email

Sometimes a more personal apology is necessary. This doesn’t mean the email can’t be sent en masse, however, address your customer directly and sign it off from a member of staff.

A personalized apology email

Senior apology email

In the event of a more serious issue, an apology email may need to come from somebody senior. 

This shows the customer that the issue has been raised and taken seriously by those at the top.

An apology email from an executive

3 examples of an apology text message

Text messaging is one of the most reliable forms of business communication. With a 98% open rate, you know your apology text message is almost certain to reach its intended recipient. 

There’s no threat of a junk box, and when you use a business texting platform, you can conduct customer service efforts from a set phone number without giving out your personal details. 

Mass Apology Text Message

The most effective way to send out a mass text is by using a mass messaging service

Not only will this ensure your text is sent out quickly, but you can also use analytics features to monitor open rates and find out what percentage of customers have received your text message.

Hi there! We’re sorry to tell you that we’re currently experiencing delivery disruptions due to weather conditions. Please accept our apologies and use CODE: 25SORRY for 25% off your next order.

Personal apology text message

If you thought you couldn’t get personal in a text message, you thought wrong. 

Text messages are an incredibly personal form of communication –  you’re sending a message directly into somebody’s pocket which will arrive no matter their circumstances.

Hi Alice, it’s the manager of LondonNails here. I heard you had a poor experience with us. I’m incredibly sorry and would like to offer you a free service next time you’re in. Can I book that for you? Best, Regina

Follow-up apology text message

While text messaging is the best way to reach somebody directly, we can admit there are limitations.

In some circumstances, it may be worth offering an alternative follow-up method of communication. Here’s what this might look like:

Hi Alice, it’s Regina, the manager of LondonNails here. I heard you had a poor experience with us. I apologize for this and would like to hear more about your experience if you would like to share it with me. Please get in touch on +441234 750966.

Writing an apology message shouldn’t be hard

Even when the underlying issue is out of your control, an apology message doesn’t need to be difficult to write.

You have all of the facts in front of you. You know what did/didn’t go wrong, and you’re the best person to know how to remedy the situation. With an effective apology message, your customer will recognize the sincerity and return to your business.

Remember, mistakes happen! It’s a part of life, so using our guide as a basis is a great place to start learning the skill of apologizing.

Alice Dodd
Alice Dodd

Alice is a copywriter at SimpleTexting. When not teaching the world about the benefits of business texting, you can find her feeding family, friends and strangers with her latest baking experiment.

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