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Business apology letter for poor customer service

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Business apology letter for poor customer service
September 15, 2018 1st Anniversary Wishes 1 comment

Apology Letter for Bad Service: A sample customer apology that can be to your customer for any bad experience is necessary for any successful business.


Poor services apology letter is written in order to apologize from the customer for bad services. Poor or bad services may be due to a quality problem, late receipt, improper balance check, inconvenience, and many other reasons. An apology letter should describe what you are sorry for the poor services. It should assure the customer that such a mistake won’t be repeated.

There may be times when your expectations are not met when delivering a product or service. To enhance goodwill, it is better to issue an apology letter for inadequate or poor service. The letter will help to express your regret and will give assurance for better services to the client in the future.


  • An apology letter should not be disclosed in front of anyone
  • An apology letter should be straightforward and easy to understand. It should be written in easy language
  • It should be crisp and short
  • An apology letter should be written in an authentic way
  • A clear reason should be written in an apology letter which should explain the poor services of the company
  • The letter is not an official letter so there is no need of subject line
  • An apology letter should be handed over personally as it has a good impact than a letter sent by the third person or by mail or post
  • The name and address of the reader should not be written on an apology letter if it is handed over personally.


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Apologizing for Poor Customer Treatment

Dear ‘Name of Customer’,

Please address this letter as an official apology for the poor treatment provided to you. Due to our staff members’ unacceptable behavior, you experienced bad service.

We would like to sincerely apologize to you and assure you that are staff members shall be reprimanded for their misconduct. It will be our pleasure to continue to provide you with our services.


Apologizing for a Damaged or Defective Product or Service

Dear ‘Customer Name’,

We received your complaint regarding the defective product that was sent to you by our company. After checking in with our shipment team, the reason for the defective product was recognized as an accident which occurred during the shipment process.

Therefore, we would like to apologize for our shipment services. You will find the new product that is reshipped. Thank you for doing business with us and hopefully, you will continue to purchase our services in the future.


Apologizing for Delayed or Improper Shipping

Dear ‘Name of Customer’,

Please accept this letter of apology for the delayed shipment of the products you purchased from ‘Company Name’. Due to mismanagement, the shipment was not sent out at the right time.

In order to make up for our mistake, a discount at the ‘Rate’ has been on the product you purchased. Please find the new bill generated attached to this letter. Thank you for purchasing our products. We wish you will continue to accept our services.


Apologizing for Billing Issues

Dear ‘Customer’,

We received your complaint about the issues in the bill generated and sent to you. We have confirmed that due to workload, the concerned department responsible for the bill generation accidentally mixed up your bill with another client. For this mistake, we sincerely apologize. You will find a gift card of our company attached to this letter. Hopefully, you will continue to purchase our services in the future.

Thank you.


Apologizing for a Product Recall

Dear ‘Name of Client’,

We would like to apologize for the product recall that was made due to the shipment of a damaged product to you. In order to compensate you for the mistake made by our shipment team, you will find a gift card attached to this letter. We hope that you will look over our mistake and continue doing business with us.

Thank you and once again apologies for the product recall.


Apologizing for Canceling a Service or Event

Dear ‘Name of concerned person’,

We would like to apologize for the cancellation of your services at the last minute. Due to an unforeseeable turn of events, our function had to be postponed until further notice.

We would like to pay the bill and some compensation for the hassle you and your business were put through. When we can finally hold the function in the future, we would like to purchase the services again. Hopefully, you will accept our booking.

You will find the payment attached to this letter. Thank you for your services.

Sub: Apology letter on behalf of {Your company name} for the poor customer experience that you had with {Name of the representative}, our customer service representative.

When you're sending an apology as a reply:

business apology letter for poor customer service

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It takes 12 great customer experiences to make up for a single bad one. When something goes wrong, sending a polished, professional apology letter to your customers is the first step to making it right again.

Whether it’s a scheduling mishap, a bug in your product, or something more serious like an app outage or security breach, communicating about mistakes with customers certainly isn’t easy. The good news? Sending an apology email is your chance to start a healthy conversation and potentially build a stronger relationship with your customers.

Crafting a message that strikes the right tone for your apology can certainly be an art — and we can learn a lot from seeing how others do it. We collected a few real examples from customer success managers and company leaders. They contain great copy for admitting your mistakes, apologizing, and setting customers up for future success.

When you're sending an apology as a reply:

1. We were wrong. Here’s what happened.

Hi [client name],

Thanks for being patient while we sort this out. After an in-depth discussion with my team, we’ve realized that we’re responsible for these issues. Given the progress we’ve made the in the last {weeks/months/years}, our relationship is extremely important to us, and we never want our errors to set you off track. We want to make sure you’re back on track for meeting your goals ASAP.

We’re very committed to making it right, so here’s our plan for moving forward: {insert plans here}.

Thank you for your patience and understanding,

When to use this apology email:

Your client will see you as more credible and trustworthy if you give them every detail of what happened and why. If something was truly your fault, avoid using language that blurs the lines or shoves off the blame, like “we’re sorry this happened to you.” Instead, send this to take full responsibility for the problem.

2. We’re working on it.

Hi [customer name],

I’m sorry about {insert problem here}. I’m talking with my team about exploring this issue more now. I just want to let you know that your issue is important to us, and we’ll get back to you ASAP with proper insight and solutions.

Thanks for your patience,

When to use this apology email:

Giving a swift reply explaining that a customer’s issue is top a priority can make a huge difference in showing them you care. Send something like this when you’re still working on finding a resolution and digging into a problem.

3. Still not sure…help us understand the problem further.

Hi [client name],

Thanks for reaching out to us about {insert issue here}. We’ve spent the last few days assessing what’s been going on, and we really appreciate your patience during this time. Although we’ve been working on resolutions, we still haven’t found a fix. Here’s what we’ve tried so far:

{list what you’ve tried}

I am very committed to fixing this for you. I’d really like to hear more about your experience so that we can make sure we’re on the same page and figure out next steps. To start, I have some questions:
{insert questions}

Thanks again for your patience while we work through this. I’m confident we’ll find a resolution soon.

Sincerely, {name}

When to use this apology email:

This message is for that time when you’ve been working on fixing a problem for a while, and you still can’t figure it out. The best course of action? Be transparent about it. Make a list of bulleted list of the things you tried, and follow with a list of questions. This email should be straight to the point, but keep an optimistic attitude.

In the instances above, you’re replying when a customer comes to you with a problem. But that’s not always the case. What about when you're initiating the conversation?

When you're initiating the apology:

1. Important Security Notice

Dear Ashley,

We are writing to inform you that we were recently able to confirm that there was unauthorized access to a {company} database containing user profile information. We have since blocked this unauthorized access and made additional changes to our technical infrastructure to prevent future incidents. We have made all relevant details available on our blog. No specific action is required of you.

However, we have also just released Two Factor Authentication (“2FA”; also known as “two step verification”) and we strongly recommend that all users enable this feature, which provides an additional layer of security for their account. Additional details are available in our help center and you can enable 2FA directly on your account settings page.

Since the compromised system was first discovered, we have been working 24 hours a day to methodically examine, rebuild and test each component of our system to ensure it is safe. We are very aware that our service is essential to many teams. Earning your trust through the operation of a secure service will always be our highest priority. We deeply regret this incident and apologize to you, and to everyone who relies on us, for this inconvenience.

For more on our security practices and policies, see {link}. Again, for additional information, we encourage you to read the blog post for more details.

{Your name}

What makes this apology email great:

This tone of this apology is serious, but optimistic. It starts with a detailed, honest assessment of the problem and a recommendation to help fix it. Next they explain their fault, commitment to a resolution, a sincere apology, and resources for finding more information.

2. Outage

Hello Sarah,

I'm emailing to update you on our service outages on {time and day}. Service was fully restored at about {time}.

I know this has been a very frustrating and trying time for you as a {company name} customer, and for that I apologize. Please know that our team has been working through the night to resolve these incidents. (The post mortems on these incidents are here.)

This has been a tough {time period} knowing that we've let you down, and we want to make amends. We failed to provide you with the service you deserve. I wish I could tell you this outage was unpredictable, or it was all an external party's fault, but it wasn't.

We have been aware of the possibility of this kind of outage. We have in fact been working on hardening our system to this kind of risk for months. That’s why we know it was preventable. In the end, we did not execute quickly enough to prevent these issues from affecting you.

We feel no great irony in the fact the specific component that lead to this outage was scheduled to be replaced this week. The positive news is that we spent the last months rewriting how the particular servers affected today are set up. Had the servers been using this new set up, it would have helped avoid this issue. These updates are still due to be released imminently as they were scheduled to do so regardless of this particular outage.

You can rest assured, we are taking this seriously. I realize that doesn't make up for lost business {time and day} though. As a mea culpa, we are issuing you 2 days worth of credit on your account. You should see that reflected in the next few days.

If you feel this isn't sufficient, please let me know and we can discuss further.


PS: You can subscribe to service status updates at {status page}

What makes this apology email great:

This message not only tells — but shows — just how seriously they’re taking this outage. They give a breakdown of what happened, link directly to their post mortem, and admit to their fault, plain and simple. They also explain how the problem was preventable, how they could have solved it, and what stopped them from preventing it, which shows that they’re taking steps to make sure it never happens again.

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3. App Downtime Apology

Dear Ashley,

You may have noticed, we experienced a downtime of our indexing API today. For about {time period} starting at {day}, some write operations were refused by the API with a {error code}. {Feature} was not impacted, and {Feature} ran as usual.

It's the first time that an outage has happened since we launched the service, and we are deeply sorry for the inconvenience. We published a full explanation of the problem and its resolution on our blog: {blog link}

Should you want any details, feel free to contact us anytime.

{Your name}

What makes this apology email great:

This message gives customers what they need to know without dwelling on the error. They acknowledge exactly what was impacted, list what was unaffected, and give a link to more detail for those who want to explore it further. They clearly take fault without blowing the situation up into something catastrophic.

Showing customers you’re human can go a long way in building better relationships. When it comes to writing apology emails, admitting to your mistakes and having empathy are the best things you can do to make it right and make customers happy again.

Intercom's Wyl Villacres said it well: "Having a difficult conversation yield a positive outcome can get you a glowing endorsement from your customer. And just like defusing the tensions in a bar, it starts with empathy, and making sure that the customer feels heard before things heat up."

About the author

Julie MorseJulie is a journalist, researcher, and content strategist who lives between San Francisco and Mexico City. She loves writing about technology, healthcare, and finance.

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Apology Letter for Customer

business apology letter for poor customer service

Miss that chance to apologise well and the company will lose business; embrace it and the business will have a customer for life.

Try following these six steps to crafting that all-important contact centre apology, with extra tips for saying sorry over the phone or via live chat and email.

1. Understand What You’re Apologising for

An apology through gritted teeth is worse than none at all.

It is impossible for an advisor to give a genuine apology until they have fully understood what’s happened. So it’s important to acknowledge the customer first, thank them for their contact and listen carefully.

Don’t dive in with a throwaway apology just because “the customer is always right”. An apology through gritted teeth is worse than none at all.

Additional Advice for Live Chat and Email

An upset customer often starts their email with the straw that broke the camel’s back. But that might not be the main issue, so the advisor will need to read between the lines to figure it out.

Handling a customer interaction on live chat means asking the right questions: “When did this problem start?” And let the customer know that they are being listened to by using quick phrases, such as: “I can see that”, “I understand” and “Yes, of course.”

Additional Advice for the Phone

Active listening is the key here. This is a technique where an advisor conveys to the customer that they are concentrating fully, making reference to what the customer is saying, to emphasise to them that they have the advisor’s full attention.

A key part of this is to use “verbal nods” when the customer is talking.  These reassure the customer that there is someone on the other end of the phone, doing their best to understand the issue.

Examples of these verbal nods simply include saying “yeah” or “uh-huh” when the customer comes to the end of their sentence.

For more on this topic, read our article: Ten Tips to Improve Listening Skills on the Telephone

2. Say Sorry Sincerely

Saying sorry is the most effective way to make up for a poor customer experience. Hopefully, the team are fully aware of how to get that right before advisors launch in with a quick fix.

Once the advisor knows exactly what they are sorry for, it is important to be sincere about it, to say something like: “I’m sorry our call handler was rude and unhelpful.”

Don’t take a ‘one size fits all’ approach with: “Please accept my sincere apologies for your recent experience.” Make the apology personal, as otherwise it will lack authenticity.

Advisors should avoid a “non-apology” at all costs. Don’t put the problem back on the customer and tell them “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

Also, advisors should avoid a “non-apology” at all costs. Don’t put the problem back on the customer and tell them “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

Don’t doubt the customer’s experience by saying something along the lines of “I’m sorry if our call handler was rude.” And never put things down to bad luck with “Unfortunately…”. This goes for any channel, whether it’s live chat, email or the phone.

3. Show Empathy and Reflect Back

The customer has suffered poor service and they have gone to the trouble of making a complaint. They are feeling disappointed, frustrated and/or upset, so it’s important to validate those feelings.

It may seem clichéd, but it’s important for the advisor to put themselves in the customer’s shoes, to say something like: “I appreciate you bringing this distressing situation to my attention. Let me see what I can do to help.”

In addition, it can be helpful to reflect back any specific details that they have mentioned to show an understanding. For example: “…especially as we’d assured you it would arrive in time for Christmas.”

Advisors should also be warned against undermining that empathy by countering it with an excuse, by saying something such as “While I appreciate this delay is frustrating, we’re currently processing a high volume of orders.”

For a list of phrases that are useful for advisors when showing empathy, read our article: 18 Empathy Statements That Help Improve Customer-Agent Rapport

4. Give the Solution

Now the customer is ready to hear the advisor’s solution. However, simply dishing out a refund will only win over 37% of disgruntled customers, as highlighted in a Nottingham School of Economics study.

Remind advisors to put emphasis on the solution, rather than reverting to the problem, to try and keep the interaction upbeat.

But after the advisor has said sorry and shown that they care, the chances of earning the customer’s forgiveness have already increased massively.

Make the solution hassle-free and do the legwork for the customer, telling them that: “I’ve sent out a replacement to you, free of charge.”

Don’t put them to more trouble and say something like: “Please reorder your item and call our billing team to refund the charge.” Remind advisors to put emphasis on the solution, rather than reverting to the problem, to try and keep the interaction upbeat.

To go one better, the contact centre could allow advisors to make a heartfelt goodwill gesture. For example, allow the advisor to say: “I’m also taking £25 off your next bill to show we’re sorry for the stress we’ve caused.”

Offering “£25 off your next bill in line with our customer promise” isn’t so meaningful, yet it’ll cost the company the same.

5. Take Responsibility

Whether the mistake was intentional or not, the outcome is the same for the customer. They deserve an explanation of exactly what’s gone wrong, and why. This is a chance to rebuild trust, so advisors must be encouraged to be transparent.

This encouragement involves asking advisors to hold their hands up and take ownership of the error, even if it wasn’t made by them. An advisor can do this by saying something along the lines of: “I should have made this clearer to you when you placed your order.”

Using active language is helpful when taking responsibility, saying something such as: “I made a mistake when I debited your account.” And it’s important to be specific, to say: “I debited £143.00 instead of £14.30”.

Another tip would be to avoid jargon, as illustrated in the following phrase: “It would appear… an error was made… we placed a negative marker on your file.”

The passive construction and alien jargon included in the statement above create barriers to understanding, which can often make an advisor sound underhand.

6. Offer Reassurance – but Don’t Make Promises That You Can’t Keep

By this point, the advisor is well on their way to turning your customer’s negative experience into a positive one. But before the call ends, it is important to restore your customer’s faith in the business. Give them a reason to come back.

Advisors should avoid making boastful claims such as: “We’re proud to offer our customers a first-class service.” That completely contradicts the customer’s experience.

Reflect company values by using phrases like: “We’re committed to offering exceptional service to all our customers.”

Also, it may be useful to explain any improvements that the company is making to its service, by saying something like: “We don’t want this to happen again, so we’ve upgraded our delivery service.”

But advisors should avoid make boastful claims such as: “We’re proud to offer our customers a first-class service.” That completely contradicts the customer’s experience.

In addition, advisors should be warned against making promises that the company can’t keep. This could include common contact centre phrases like: “We’ve taken steps to ensure this will never happen again.”

Wrapping up by thanking the customer again, and signing off with their name, is great practice for a contact centre advisor. Doing this shows accountability and a personal commitment to putting things right.

And if things have really gone right, the customer will drop a line or make a statement to personally thank the advisor for their help.

For a full run-down of how to close a call, read our article: The Best Call-Closing Statements

Do you agree with this six-step process?

Let us know by sharing your thoughts in an email to Call Centre Helper.

Thanks to Tamara Carlier, Trainer & Coach at The First Word, for helping to put this article together.

This sample apology letter was sent from a company to a customer to deal with a case of very poor customer service. These letters must be sincere, or there is no.

Tag: Airline apology letter to customers

business apology letter for poor customer service

In response to Ofcom’s fine of £4.625m, Vodafone has published a detailed and contrite apology  – albeit one that blamed computer systems more than senior management for a botched data migration exercise.

Nothing similar has been issued by a central government department, even after a major failure such as HMRC’s loss of 25 million records, or the DWP’s failure to provide timely benefits to people most in need of them, particularly the disabled.

Vodafone needs customers to stay in business. So an apology that explains in general terms what went wrong may be seen by some of its customers as a sign of remorse.

The Vodafone apology could be a template for government departments that tend not to apologise for anything that goes wrong, largely because they don’t have to.

“Vodafone UK today issued its response to the Ofcom investigations into compliance matters related to Pay As You Go (PAYG) disconnections between December 2013 and April 2015 and general complaints handling between 1 January 2014 and 5 November 2015.

“The company also explained the background to the errors identified by Ofcom and set out the actions taken since to address the concerns raised.

“We deeply regret these system and process failures. We are completely focused on serving our customers: everyone who works for us is expected to do their utmost to meet our customers’ needs, day after day, and act quickly and efficiently if something goes wrong

“It is clear from Ofcom’s findings that we did not do that often enough or well enough on a number of occasions. We offer our profound apologies to anyone affected by these errors.

What happened – and why

“The matters under investigation were a consequence of errors during a complex IT migration which involved moving more than 28.5 million customer accounts and almost one billion individual customer data fields from seven legacy billing and services platforms to one, state-of-the-art system.

“The IT project began at the end of 2013 and was the largest of its kind ever undertaken by Vodafone anywhere in the world.

“Despite multiple controls in place to reduce the risk of errors, at various points a small proportion of individual customer accounts were incorrectly migrated, leading to mistakes in the customer billing data and price plan records stored on the new system.

“Those errors led to a range of different problems for the customers affected which – in turn – led to a sharp increase in the volume of customer complaints. This was the focus of the Ofcom investigation under General Condition 14.4.

“We accept that numerous customers were frustrated and affected by these issues and accept that we were not as effective as we should have been in handling and resolving customers’ issues fairly, consistently and in a timely manner.

“As Ofcom confirms, we were working to address the issues from October 2014 but also accept that that the steps taken weren’t effective or sufficient until November 2015.

The PAYG top-up error

“From late 2013 until early 2015, a failure in our billing systems – linked to the migration challenges explained above – meant that customers who had topped up a PAYG mobile which had been dormant for nine months or more received a confirmation message that the credit had been added to their account; however, the mobile in question continued to be flagged as disconnected on our systems.

“This meant that customers who had paid Vodafone in order to resume using a previously inactive mobile were led to believe – incorrectly – that they would be able to make calls, send texts and use data on Vodafone’s network.

“Affected customers continued to have access to the emergency services as all charged mobile phones can dial 999 via any mobile network, including when out of credit.

“This was a serious error that affected a total of 10,452 PAYG customers and forms the focus of the Ofcom investigation under General Condition 23.2 and 11.1.

“Unfortunately, as the circumstances of the IT failure in question were very unusual (at the time, less than 0.01% of all Vodafone UK PAYG customers’ phones were inactive for more than nine months before being reactivated), the teams responsible for the day-to-day operation of the relevant areas were not fast enough in identifying the issue and did not fully appreciate its significance once they did so.

“Once the issue was finally escalated to senior management there was a prompt, full and thorough investigation and every effort was made to fix the underlying failure and to refund in full all affected customers as quickly as possible.

What have we done to put this right?

“We have fully refunded or re-credited 10,422 customers out of the 10,452 affected. The average refund per customer was £14.35.

“We were unable to track down the remaining 30 customers affected. As we cannot refund those customers and have no intention of profiting from this issue in any way, we have instead made a donation of £100,000 to a number of UK charities.

“The IT failure involved was resolved by April 2015 – approximately 11 weeks after senior managers were finally alerted to it – with a system-wide change implemented in October 2015 that – as Ofcom acknowledges – means this error cannot be repeated in future.

“More broadly, we have conducted a full internal review of this failure and, as a result, have overhauled our management control and escalation procedures. A failure of this kind, while rare, should have been identified and flagged to senior management for urgent resolution much earlier.

Investment in improving our customer services

“Our new billing and customer management system is designed to give our customers the best experience possible. It puts the customers in control of every aspect of the Vodafone products and services upon which they rely.

” It also enables our customer service and retail employees to respond quickly and efficiently to changing customer needs and swiftly put things right if they go wrong.

“All of our consumer customer accounts have now been migrated successfully to the new system with a number of positive effects as a consequence.

“For example, there has been more than 50% reduction in customer complaints since November 2015 and our Net Promoter Score – which measures the extent to which our customers would recommend Vodafone to others – has increased by 50 points.

“We fully appreciate the consequences for our customers of various failures in the migration process over the last three years.

“We have sought to remedy these through an additional £30 million investment this year in customer service and training including hiring an additional 1,000 new UK-based call centre personnel and more than 190,000 hours of training to improve how we identify and resolve individual customer problems.

“We are also working with the Ombudsman to ensure that customers are able to escalate problems more effectively if we are unable to resolve these within our own systems quickly.

“This has been an unhappy episode for all of us at Vodafone: we know we let our customers down. We are determined to put everything right. We are also confident that our customers are already beginning to see the benefits of our substantial investment in new systems designed to meet their needs much more effectively in future.”

The fine of £4.625m is the largest Ofcom has levied against any telecoms supplier.

No regulator exists that can force an admission of failure from any central government department, let alone extract an explanatory apology.

Margaret Hodge, former chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, concludes in her wonderful book “Called to Account”

And not an apology in sight.

Botched IT migration – Computer Weekly


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How to respond to a complaint with an apology letter? More often than not, the error or poor service falls upon you, not the customer. Even in Explain to the client that mistakes are not common in your business and what happened is a rare.

business apology letter for poor customer service
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