Sample Business Apology Letters With Free Templates

Updated January 22, 2020
Businessman holding sign I am sorry

The sooner you write an apology business letter after an infraction, the better. If you've committed a business offense of some kind, extend an apology shortly thereafter. Acting quickly can make the difference between saving or ending a business relationship. Access the template that most closely matches your situation by clicking the image. It will open as a fully customizable PDF document that you can edit to meet your needs. Then, simply save and print. See this guide to working with printables if you need assistance.

Sample Apology Letter to Customer for Poor Customer Service

Use this template if you need to draft a letter apologizing for unsatisfactory customer service.

customer service apology letter
Sample customer service apology letter

Business Apology Letter for Inconvenience

Use this sample apology letter to communicate with a customer who has been inconvenienced as a result of a problem with your organization.

inconvenience apology letter from business
Business apology letter for inconvenience

Business Apology Letter for Miscommunication

If a miscommunication has created a problem with a customer, use a letter similar to the one below as a starting point for service recovery.

Business Miscommunication Apology Letter
Apology letter for miscommunication

Apology Letter Template for Damaged Goods

Use this template if you need to apologize to a customer who has received a shipment that has been damaged.

apologizing for damaged goods
Apology lettter for damaged goods

Example Apology for Missing a Meeting

Use this version to write an apology letter for missing a meeting that you should have attended.

apologizing for missing a meeting
Apology letter for missing a meeting

Working With the Templates

Once you have opened the template of your choice, click anywhere in the document to edit. You can use as much or as little of the sample letters as you'd like in your version. Use the menu commands on the toolbar to save and print the finished document.

Other Example Letters for Apologizing Professionally

Of course, there are additional reasons you might need to apologize to an individual or organization with whom you do business. If the templates above don't quite meet your needs, the wording in one of the following sample letters might help.

  • Business rejection letter: If you need to send a rejection letter to a vendor who replied to a request for proposal (RFP) or to a candidate who applies for a job, these sample rejection letters can be helpful templates.
  • Accounting mistake correction: If you need to respond to a customer who has pointed out a mistake on his or her account, this sample letter outlines appropriate language for an apology. It may be helpful to pair the letter with a debit memo.
  • Order cancellation follow-up: If a problem with your company led to a customer deciding to cancel an order, consider sending an order cancellation follow-up letter to apologize for the issue.
  • Apologizing to the boss: If a situation occurs that would lead you to need to apologize to your boss, it's probably best to have that conversation in person. Then, follow up with a thank you note to your boss for listening, understanding, and otherwise expressing appreciation for working with you on resolving the situation.

What to Include in a Business Apology Letter

While every situation is unique, business apology letters should generally follow this format:

  1. Start by saying you are sorry. You want the intent of the letter to be clear.
  2. Next, offer an explanation regarding the reason for the letter. Acknowledge what went wrong and how you plan to rectify the situation.
  3. Along with extending the apology in a timely manner, be sure to promise you won't repeat the offense.
  4. At the end of the letter, apologize one more time and mention you value the business relationship.

Usually, if you acknowledge you've made an error in judgment or were wrong in some fashion and express your regret sincerely, the person receiving the letter will forgive the infraction and continue to do business with you. However, sometimes it takes more than words, and an apology letter must be accompanied by appropriate restitution to repair your business relationship. Consider the specifics of the situation when deciding what - if any - restitution may be required to provide appropriate and effective customer service.

Using Email for a Business Apology Letter

Business apology letters can be sent by postal mail or email. Tips to consider when apologizing by email include:

  • When sending a formal business letter via email, save the completed letter as a PDF file and attach it to an email message.
  • Write a descriptive subject line that makes it clear to the recipient that the attachment is an apology letter for a specific situation.
  • Add a note to the body of the message directing the recipient to review the full letter that is attached.
  • For a slightly less formal approach, or if you are concerned that the recipient won't open an attachment, put the full text of the letter in the body of the email.

Business Apology Letter Writing Tips

Along with viewing sample business apology letters, the following quick tips will come in handy when writing your own letter:

  • Type the apology using a common, easy-to-read font such as Times Roman or Arial.
  • Print your letter on good quality white paper if you will be sending by traditional mail.
  • Use a formal business letter format such as semi-block or full-block.
  • Incorporate your apology within the beginning of your letter.
  • Clarify the problem when you apologize to a customer.
  • Offer a specific explanation.
  • Outline what action you plan to take to rectify the problem.
  • Review the letter to verify that it accurately conveys the message.
  • Proofread closely, carefully checking for and correcting errors.
  • Ask someone else to proofread before finalizing, making any necessary adjustments.
  • Save the final version of the letter.
  • Sign the letter by hand before mailing or creating a PDF to attach to an email.
  • Place a copy in the customer's file, keeping a notation of when it was sent.

When to Postpone Writing an Apology Letter

While it is prudent in most cases to write and send your apology letter with a quick response, there are times when it is best to wait. For example, if the incident in question may result in legal action or liability issues, it is best to talk with legal counsel before you put anything in writing.

Maintaining Business Relationships

Maintaining healthy business relationships sometimes requires an apology. Sending an apology letter can show the offended party you not only realize you were wrong and accept responsibility for what happened, but you also value the relationship. Saying you're sorry in a professional way can save business relationships and disperse the problem before it gets out of hand.

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Sample Business Apology Letters With Free Templates