Tips to make the perfect customer apology

Taking the time to craft a tailored customer apology can go a long way in building trust with your customers and shows that you truly value them. Did you know that stats show when it comes to negative experiences, 55% of customers are willing to forgive companies if they receive a sincere apology?

Simply Thank You started as a business that offered a way for businesses to say sorry to customers at scale. This was a personal issue – as back in the 1990s, if there was an issue with your bank, as a customer, the best way to resolve it was seeing a bank manager in person! In turn, that also meant that bank managers were left sorting out the customer apology gifts – often heading out to buy a gift, wrapping it and sending it! We saw a way to make this far more efficient, but the issue still stands.

Some stats on customer service in the UK show that out of the 4,000 customers surveyed, 56% said they would switch to another supplier if their expectations weren’t met. And out of those same people, 45% said a lack of customer service was the primary reason for them switching to another provider – not price or product features. That’s why it’s so important to meet – and exceed – customer expectations whenever possible.

It’s also important to remember that not all customer apologies need to be in written form, either. Using other methods like phone or video calls can work just as well and provide a more personal touch. Customers appreciate it when you take the time to explain the issue, apologize for their inconvenience, and suggest how you will rectify it.

Even if you don’t have a global team or the support of Simply Thank You, we wanted to put down some of our top tips for saying sorry and getting customer apologies perfect every time.

Forward this copy to your customer service teams!

Customer apology emails – what to say

When apologizing to a customer, it’s important to be sincere and express regret. Admitting that an error was made and taking responsibility shows humility and can go a long way in rebuilding trust.

– Start your message by expressing sympathy for how the customer feels. Acknowledge their frustration with the issue and thank them for bringing it to your attention.

– Explain what went wrong and offer a detailed explanation of how you plan on addressing the issue. If necessary, provide a timeline for when they can expect a resolution and follow through on any promises made in the customer apology email.

– It’s also important to explain what steps you are taking to prevent similar mistakes in the future. Let the customer know that you are taking steps to improve processes and make sure their experience with your company is a positive one.

– Finally, offer some kind of compensation or incentive as a gesture of goodwill. This could be in the form of a refund, discount, or credit towards future purchases.

No matter what went wrong, apologize sincerely and take responsibility for any mistakes made, and remember, make sure you know the full details of what you’re apologising for. As Eric Brown from Aptean wrote, “A true apology depends on having the full details about what exactly it is you’re apologizing for”. (Source)

Examples of customer apology emails:

Dear {name},

We apologize for the unfortunate experience you’ve had with our company. We are truly sorry for the trouble we caused you and understand how upsetting this must be.

We take full responsibility for this mistake and assure you that steps have been taken to prevent it from happening again in the future. We are also offering a {credit/refund/discount} as a gesture of goodwill.

We’d like to thank you for bringing this issue to our attention and apologize again for the inconvenience. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can be of any further assistance. Company Name}


Dear {name},

We apologize for the inconvenience caused by our mistake. We understand how frustrating this must be and we want to make it right.

To rectify the issue, we are offering a full refund as well as a {discount/credit/gift card} as a gesture of goodwill.

We value your business and we’re dedicated to providing the best customer service possible. We apologize again for the error and thank you for bringing this to our attention. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can be of any further assistance.


Company Name

Apology gifts

when are they appropriate and what should your company rules be?

This is an area we get a lot of questions on! Customer apology gifts are a great way to show your customers that you care and want to make it right. They’re also a great way to ensure customer loyalty in the future.

However, it is important to have a clear policy on when apology gifts are appropriate and what types of gifts can be sent out. This will help ensure that all customers are being treated fairly and that gifts are sent out in a timely manner.

We recommend setting a limit on what types of gifts can be sent and when it is appropriate to send them. For example, you may want to set a rule that apology gifts should only be sent after two or more customer service attempts have been made without a resolution.

It is also important to ensure that the apology gift fits the situation and customer. For example, we always encourage customer service teams to send useful items like earphones or a travel mug as a customer apology if that fits the scenario – or if they don’t have a precise situation or understanding of the customer, then to go classic with drinks, foods and chocolates.

Should you brand your customer apology gift?

Our view is it is an absolute, yes! It’s a great way to show that you stand behind your product or service and want the customer to keep enjoying their experience with your brand. Some brands worry that their name will be on social media, showing that they made a mistake. However, we all make mistakes. Seeing your brand stand by its customers and make it right is actually a great reputation builder.

Remember, customer service is an important part of any good business. Apologizing to customers when mistakes are made shows that you care and can help keep a customer for life. With the tips above, you’re sure to get it right!

Our final tip? Don’t forget to include a personalized card or message with each gift! Simply Thank You can help you get your customer apology gifts perfect every time, down to the branding, customisation as well as a way for your customer service teams to order at speed.

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