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Home > Emails > How to write apology emails (5 sincere apologies examples)

How to write apology emails (5 sincere apologies examples)

Lawrie Jones
Written by
Lawrie JonesProfessional Tech Writer
Updated on:Jun 18, 2024

Sorry really is the hardest word to say (thanks, Elton John). But if you've done something wrong at work, apologizing is the only way to put it right. It's always best to apologize in person, but if you can't (or won't), then sending a professional email apology is OK.

But what do you say, and how do you say it? We're going to show you with 5 workplace sorry email samples, covering:

  • Apologize to a client/customer
  • Apologize for forgetting to send something
  • Apologize for not paying an invoice
  • Apologize for missing a meeting
  • Apologize for a late delivery

Of course, these sincere apology examples won't cover every situation or circumstance, so we're going to build a template response you can customize.

By the end, you'll be an email apology pro (although we hope you never have to send one!).

Compose Sincere Apology Emails with Confidence

Need help crafting an authentic apology via email? Check out our free AI email generator, designed to aid you in conveying your apologies professionally!

What are apology emails (and why send them)?

Oh no. You've made a mistake. Do you ignore it and hope nobody notices or deal with it?

The second option, obviously (that's why you're here!).

Apology emails are about smoothing things over and maintaining relationships. In fact, apologizing honestly and early enough can improve things between you. Why? Because you're accepting responsibility, admitting it, and making a plan to solve the problem.

If we're being honest, none of us likes to admit we're wrong and apologize. But sometimes, it's a better option than ignoring a problem and hoping it goes away.

Worried about whether you should email or apologize in person? If it's a minor issue (like late product delivery or a delay in sending a report), then an email is fine. If it's a major issue that's going to have a significant impact on operations or relationships (like burning down your building!), then apologize in person.

Only you can make the decision, but if you do choose to send an email, then start by reviewing our sincere apology examples.

5 sincere apology examples

Saying sorry just got easier with HIX.AI. We're going to help you find the words you need to apologize for several common situations you might experience. Need to apologize to a customer? We can help. Product late? No problem.

Use our samples to see how pros apologize. Don't copy and paste them, but use them as inspiration for your messages because an apology only means something if it's honest.

Apologize to a client/customer

Again, if you've done something really bad, then call a customer or client, but if it's a minor issue, an email is fine! This apology email to a client or customer sticks to the format (more on this later) and says sorry clearly and succinctly.

Dear [Recipient's Name],

I apologize for the mistake that occurred regarding [specific issue]. I want to assure you that we are taking immediate action to rectify the situation and prevent it from happening again in the future. It was never our intention for this to happen and we deeply regret any inconvenience it may have caused you.

Please rest assured that we value your business and are committed to providing you with the highest level of service. If there is anything else we can do to make it right, please do not hesitate to let us know.

Thank you for your understanding and patience in this matter.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

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Read also: 10+ Effective We Apologize for The Inconvenience Email Templates + Writing Tips

Apologize for forgetting to send something

Forgotten to send your boss or a colleague something important? It's time to apologize. This is a pretty common reason to say sorry, so keep this sample somewhere handy! If you do make an error such as this, be sure to include the attachment with your email!

Dear [Recipient's Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to apologize for the oversight on my part. Unfortunately, I forgot to send you the important document that was supposed to accompany my previous email.

Please find attached the document in question. I apologize for any inconvenience caused by this oversight and I assure you that it was unintentional. Rest assured that I will ensure such mistakes do not happen in the future.

Thank you for your understanding and please let me know if there is anything else I can do to rectify the situation.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Read also: 30+ Practical I/We Apologize For The Delay Email Templates + Email Writing Tips

Apologize for not paying an invoice

Not paying an invoice is a serious matter and should be dealt with immediately. In this invoice apology email, we acknowledge what's happened and the potential impact – and explain this invoice will be paid (immediately, we hope!).

Dear [Recipient's Name],

I apologize for the delay in payment for the invoice [Invoice Number]. I understand the importance of honoring our financial obligations and regret any inconvenience caused. Rest assured, the outstanding amount will be settled immediately.

Thank you for your understanding and patience regarding this matter.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Read also: How to write invoice emails (5 templates & samples)

Apologize for missing a meeting

Diary clashes, sickness, or simply getting your dates and times mixed up can lead to you missing a meeting. If it happens, issue an apology and commit to catching up (either with another meeting or a call).

Dear [Recipient's Name],

I sincerely apologize for missing our scheduled meeting. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, I experienced a diary clash and was unable to attend. I understand the importance of this meeting and the inconvenience caused.

I would like to propose rescheduling the meeting at a time that is convenient for both of us. Please let me know your availability, and I will ensure that the meeting is promptly rescheduled.

Once again, I apologize for any inconvenience caused and appreciate your understanding. I look forward to catching up with you soon.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Apologize for a late delivery

Courier companies do a tough job of transporting goods around the world, and they sometimes get it wrong. If a delivery is late, you'll need to accept it, explain what happens, and propose a solution.

Dear [Recipient's Name],

I apologize for the delay in delivering your package. Unfortunately, we encountered unexpected circumstances that caused the delay. Rest assured, we are working diligently to rectify the situation and ensure prompt delivery.

To make it up to you, I would like to offer a discount on your next shipment or expedite the delivery of your current package, whichever you prefer. Please let us know your preference, and we will take immediate action accordingly.

We value your business and we apologize for this inconvenience. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

How to apologize professionally in an email

We can all say sorry. It's easy. But do you actually mean it? Professional apology email guides often tell you to take out the emotion and stick to the facts. The problem is, removing the personality makes apologies impersonal – and that's a bad thing.

Why? Because the best and most effective apology emails are honest and engaging. They're also future-focused and look to find a way forward for your relationship.

This sounds complicated, but apology emails' building blocks are simple to understand.

  • Provide a positive introduction
  • Explain what the issue is – and apologize
  • Propose a solution
  • Express gratitude for their patience and understanding
  • Set out the next steps for the future

We're now going to work through this list and build a template together. To make it even easier, we've split it into 3 sections:

  1. Apology email subject line
  2. Body copy
  3. Sign off/next steps

We begin with the sorry email subject line.

Apology email subject line

Subject lines are fiendishly complicated to write but take less than a second to read. Why are they tough? When it comes to apology subject lines, it's about breaking bad news, and none of us really likes to do this.

But when you're going to apologize, do it up-front – and that means saying sorry (or a variation of that) in the subject line.

Here are some sample subject lines covering some of the situations outlined above:

  • Apologies for any inconvenience
  • Apologies for missing our meeting
  • Delivery delayed – please accept my apologies
  • Payment delay – sorry for the inconvenience
  • Document attached – apologies for the delay
  • Apology for the poor service
  • We're sorry for the inconvenience
  • Please accept our apologies for (what you're apologizing for!)
  • We're sorry for our recent issues

In each of these subject lines, it's clear we're saying sorry. Get that right, and you'll be off to a great start.

Apology email body copy

We've sketched out the structure of a professional email apology above, but let's go into a bit more detail. When apologizing, you've got to explain exactly what happened and acknowledge the impact.

How can you do this? One email trick we use is about having empathy. That means thinking about the issue from the other person's perspective. If you've missed a meeting, they may be personally upset and worried about the progress of an important project. Failing to pay an invoice is upsetting and can have a significant financial impact, for example.

When you consider things this way, you'll get yourself in the right mindset to write email apologies that are meaningful. In this example, we're going to build together, we're apologizing to a client for receiving poor quality products. Ready?

Start with a personalized greeting using the person's name:

"Hi (person's name)"

  • Provide a positive introduction

"I hope you're well and enjoying the summer. I've checked out your website, and I see you've expanded your product range. Exciting times!"

  • Explain what the issue is – and apologize

"We've been advised that some of our customers are experiencing issues with our latest batch of products. Some of the issues include (insert issues). I wanted to contact you and apologize if this has affected any of the products we supplied to you."

  • Propose a solution

"We're 100% committed to delivering the best service and want to replace these faulty products as soon as we can. Can you let me know what products you have ordered and need replacing?"

  • Express gratitude for their patience and understanding

"You're a highly valued client, and I want to say thank you for your patience and understanding as we deal with this issue."

Apology email sign-off/next steps

The apology email has been written, you've said sorry and set out the solution. What's next?

  • Set out the next steps for the future

"Once I've received your reply, I'll arrange delivery of the replacement items. If you have any issues, you can contact me at any point on (insert details)."

Now finish off with a positive ending.

"We hope to continue our positive relationship. Many thanks, (Your name)."

You can finish with your name, signature, and contact details.

Apology is done now. Let's move on!

5 ways to improve apology emails

We've broken down the apology email format and provided the basic building blocks, now here are 5 pro tips:

  1. Apologize upfront – If you've made a mistake, then admit it. It's much easier to say sorry as early as possible rather than leave it to the last minute.
  2. Never make excuses – Blaming someone else is the coward's way out. Just admit the problem, acknowledge the impact, provide a solution and move on.
  3. Be upbeat! – It sounds crazy, but an upbeat and positive apology is much more likely to keep things moving forward. Don't over-apologize. Mistakes happen, so don't dwell on it.
  4. Focus on the future – Apology emails are for something that has happened in the past. Change things up and focus on the future. Make suggestions about how to rectify the situation and focus on positive previous experiences.
  5. Use technology – If you're apology emails aren't hitting the spot, try the HIX.AI email generator. This AI email writing assistant can help you to write meaningful and effective apology emails, crafting expert responses in seconds. Try it today!

Conclusion

Ready to say sorry? Apology emails aren't fun to write but stick to the structure, and it'll make saying sorry simpler. Always focus on the future, and suggest a solution to make things right. We all mess up sometimes; it's how you deal with it that counts. Use our apology emails guide to ensure you maintain and improve your reputation whatever happens.

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