Business Letters Of Apology - How To Turn Negative Into Positive

Have you ever sent out business letters of apology to your clients or contacts? Well, if you haven’t I hope you’ll find the following information very helpful.


We all make mistakes, but not every mistake in business demands a formal business apology letter. You may do it over the phone or in person if you and the person you are apologizing to have a very close relationship or things you are apologizing for is very personal.

In any event, to make an apology effective, you have to do it immediately after you realized that a mistake has been made. So when do you need to write well-crafted business letters of apology? Here are a few situations:

1- When you missed a deadline

Regardless whether or not the deadline itself is realistic, the moment you accept the job, you agree to the deadline. Any if you miss it, I don’t care if you’ve got the best excuse in the whole while world an apology is imminent.

2- When you made an error

It can be a translation error, or an invoice error etc. If it falls on your part, you should accept the responsibility and apologize for it.

3- When you forget to do something you promised to do

As you may know, I invite my clients for coffee or lunch from time to time just to catch up with things and pitch new ideas etc. So if you've promised to take Bob out for lunch and you forgot about it, you’d better apologize for that.

No business or personal relationship can take empty promises, even if they are small or seemingly insignificant ones.

4- When your clients or contacts complain about receiving spam from you

Months ago I had my email account hacked and spam letters were sent to my contacts without my knowledge. A client informed me of this glitch since she thought the email sent was quite different from my style. I thanked her and sent out literally hundreds of business letters of apology to my contacts.

I’m so glad I did this – this simply builds more trust in a subtle way.

And guess what? I got quite a few job requests after I sent out the business letters of apology.

Several important things you must include in your letter or email:

1- Always make it clear as to why you are making an apology

2- Acknowledge the negative impact of the situation

3- Take full responsibility without any excuses

4- Let your client know how you plan to fix the problem or mitigate the circumstance

5- Offer some restitution, whether it’s a discount of your service or a token of appreciation such as a gift certificate

A sincere and honest apology is a great way to bring clients closer to you and create more business down the road. But business letters of apology should never be overly used. In fact, I would recommend no apology for following situations:

1- Charging what you are worth

Don’t feel bad when you charge what you are worth. If you are not confident that your rate reflects the value of your service, how can you convince your clients?

If you decide to raise your rate to reflect the true value of your services, simply send a letter to your contacts informing them of the change and get over with it. You can of course explain your decision, but don’t feel bad or apologetic about your change. If you are confident, your clients will accept the change too. Gladly.

2- Being honest

You should never apologize for not accepting work that you don’t want to take or don’t feel comfortable doing. Honesty is a great quality that helps build trust in any business. Never feel bad about taking your stand. In this case, a business thank-you letter will do the trick for you.

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