The Art of Writing an Apology Email and Subject Line

It’s common to send an apology email if a mistake was made in an earlier email. The apology email should be an opportunity to make things right with your connections and maintain long-term business relationships.

Mistakes might be as simple as failing to attach a file to an email to a colleague or business partner. In this case, you can recall the mail, add the attachment, and re-send.

An email link broken, unaccompanied emails, or wrong offers to 100,000 people are tragedies that can occur. It could harm your brand, business, or personal reputation.

Recognizing and owning your error are all critical steps in dealing with the current circumstance. We all make errors, and we’re more forgiving when someone apologizes than when they don’t.

So, how do we rectify these huge errors and apologize to our customers?

How to Apologize to a Customer in an Email Letter

When composing an email to a customer with a correction, there are a few basic things to keep in mind. You should start by:

1. Identifying the Blunder

As a doctor, examine the problem from all perspectives to determine the extent of the harm and the best way to treat it.

Keeping your head in the game is critical, as another mistake could lead to several other problems. Connecting the dots wherever possible is vital to analyzing and diagnosing the problem.

2. Defining How Serious It Is

Mistakes aren’t created equal. Determine the severity of each issue on your list once you have it. Before writing an apologetic email, it is essential to know how much impact a mistake has had.

It’s critical not to downplay the error or place too much emphasis on insignificant details. Regardless of where the error sits on the scale, being honest is always the best policy.

3. Avoiding Derogatory Terms

In your topic line, avoid using any derogatory terms. It’s a bad idea to send emails with subject lines that make your receivers want to flee.

Get rid of words like “I’m sorry” and “Please forgive me.”

Alternatively, think of a subject line encouraging recipients to open your email.

Apology Email Subject Line:

  • I’m sorry, let’s get this straightened out (Wrong)
  • Our last email has been retracted. (Right)

Admit your error, and don’t try to hide it. Make your subject line simple and acknowledge any mistakes you made in the body of the email.

4. Ignore Extreme Adjectives

It can have the opposite effect if you use extreme adjectives like “truly remorseful” or “terribly mortified.” Having a more positive language in an apology email is a better strategy.

Example of poor choice of words: 

“We are mortified to have mentioned…”

An example of a good choice of words:

Correcting an error from our last email, we’re contacting you to inform…”

Giving away all of your thoughts and feelings isn’t necessary.

Never say: “I made a mistake in my earlier email.”

Rather say: “In our last email we may have given the impression…” would be a better alternative.

Using this technique guarantees forgiveness and make it evident that you’re not hiding anything.

5. Desist From Derogatory Language

This is a general piece of advice that may be applied to any correspondence, not only apology emails.

You create a negative connotation when you use negative terms in your writing. If you sound defensive or like you’re making excuses, your apology will be taken as less severe and rejected.

Instead of using a term with a bad connotation, see if you can substitute it for a more positive one.

So, for instance, substitute “mistake” for “error.”

You should avoid using the following terms in your apology email:

  • Uncertain, Fear, Problems
  • Unfortunate, Bad, Failure, Trouble

6. No Need to Point Fingers

In your apologetic email, you do not have to point accusing fingers at anyone. Blaming others will only make things worse.

Nothing you say or do should ever be construed as placing blame on anybody or anything.

It is horrible to say: “We lost because we didn’t have a good enough team.” 

Use comedy to lighten up your email and focus on how you want to make things right. Employ joking sarcasm, as long as it isn’t hurtful, can work when used appropriately. 

When you include humor in your apology letter, it softens the tone. For both you and the recipient, it can lift the spirits and bring a sense of comfort.

4 Situations Where You Do Not Need to Send an Apology Email

You don’t have to apologize every time you send an email. In some cases, yes; in others, no. Here are four situations in which you DON’T have to write a customer an apologetic email.

1. When You Commit Typos

It’s unnecessary to write a follow-up email to fix someone’s spelling or grammar errors; doing so would only add to the overflowing inbox.

Take this as a reminder of the significance of proofreading and try to avoid a similar problem in the future.

2. Sending the Same Email to the Same Recipients Twice

You may accidentally send the same email to two different recipients by mistake. Even the most diligent fail-safe procedures sometimes fail to prevent errors.

If this happens, don’t make matters worse by sending a third apology email. Include an apology in the subsequent scheduled email, but don’t stress about it.

3. Sending Incorrect Coupon or Promo Codes to Recipients

Correcting errors by making changes to a back-end platform is sometimes a better option than owning up to such mistakes.

If you accidentally send the incorrect coupon or promotional code to your database, update the back end with the wrong code. It’s not a mistake if no one notices and calls you out on it in email marketing and campaigns.

4. in Case of a Broken Link

A simple redirect to the correct URL can cure a faulty link in an email. Fix it like the wrong coupon or promotional code.

In other words, avoid inundating your contact database with needless or redundant apologies if a back-end repair is possible.

To Wrap Up

Knowing how to construct an apology email subject line is important. Mistakes will happen at some point. You may upset your subscribers if you don’t address your error.

No one wants to send out apologetic emails. However, it is not the end of the world if you do. Your company’s brand and reputation may benefit from sending out an apologetic email now and again.

Always remember to put yourself in the recipient’s shoes and not the one sending the message. This will help you emphathize to the right degree.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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