Customer Apology Phrase: What about when things don’t go as planned?

Companies that value customer satisfaction know how painful it can be to have to resort to an apology to the customer.

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However, it is necessary to understand that, although never wanted, unforeseen and unpleasant situations do happen. In these cases, demonstrating humanity and committing to solve the problem can be definitive actions to save the relationship with the client from a strain and even a churn.

With that in mind, we’ve separated some tips for building honest and effective apologies, as well as 7 ideas to use when the client apology phrase is needed.

Customer Apology Phrase: What You Need to Consider Before Using a

An Ohio University study of apology structure showed that to get effective results, you need to combine 6 elements when sending an apology message to the customer:

  • Expression of regret;
  • Explanation of what went wrong;
  • Recognition of responsibility;
  • Declaration of regret;
  • Repair offer;
  • Request for forgiveness.

In addition to these elements, listed by psychology professionals, we’ve added other factors that can help build a more effective client apology phrase.


If you do a memory exercise, you will remember your childhood, when you heard apologies motivated solely by the “obligation” to do so. Do you remember how empty they looked?

That’s why the honesty element is so valuable in an apology message to the customer: because it creates a true connection between the sender and the recipient.


The second element is essential when we talk about the steps in the sales process. It’s about timing, or the importance of not leaving the apology to the customer for later.

Remember that the sales funnel is a continuous path, and that missing the opportunity to communicate with the customer at the right time can bring losses later on, at decisive stages of the buying journey.

With that in mind, know how to measure the timing of the apology and intervene with agility and precision to remedy the situation.


As well as honesty, empathy is a key factor for an apology to the customer to be effective. Therefore, to recognize an error, it is essential to understand its impact on the other’s life – and this is one of the skills developed in the exercise of empathy.

To get an idea of ​​the depth and relevance of empathy exercise, see below how the Harvard Business Review, in their article what is empathy? , segmented the concept:

  • Cognitive empathy: understanding the other person’s perspective
  • Empathic concern: ability to feel what the other person needs from you
  • Emotional empathy: ability to feel what the other person feels

Understanding the three empathic dimensions is critical to:

  • Dimension the customer’s problem from your point of view;
  • Understand how you can be helpful in minimizing customer discomfort.

Voice tone 

The tone of voice of the customer apology message is also a key element of its effectiveness. We understand how complicated it can be to interact with an angry or extremely dissatisfied customer.

However, exercising the previous items will help you understand where the customer is right, where your company has a responsibility, and what you can actually do to help them.

Thus, the recommended tone of voice should never be confrontational, but rather responsible for actions and availability to correct mistakes. 

Contact channel

Finally, the last element to be taken into account when crafting an apology to the customer is the contact channel. We know that most companies work with multiple types of customer service at the same time. This means that contacts are made by phone, email, social network, form etc.

It’s important to keep in mind that Omni channel companies encourage customers to use channels with which they are more familiar.

Therefore, if an agent receives a complaint over the phone, the apology should not be sent by email — not without prior phone contact that contextualizes the request and advises on using the new channel.

Customer Apology Phrase: 7 Ways to Remedy a Problem

Now you know what to consider before crafting an apology for the customer. So it’s time to step forward. Below, you will learn about 7 effective ways to treat a dissatisfied customer and apologize for any inconvenience caused.

1. I am very sorry that you had a bad experience. 

The first — critical — step in an apology to the customer is, in fact, the apology. When structuring the message, the sales agent should express their regret and be as clear as possible when saying they are sorry for what happened. This is the first step in creating an empathic customer apology message.

2. We appreciate your feedback and we will do what we can to resolve your request.

Although not wanted by anyone, a complaint is still a form of customer feedback. And, between us, any opportunity to hear what the consumer has to say should be welcomed, as it represents a rich source of points for improvement and optimization of processes and results.

So, thank the customer for sharing their feedback, but don’t forget to verbalize the team’s effort to do something with them, in this case, solve the problem presented.

3. To prevent this occurrence from happening again, we modified…

Another key to a good customer apology message is to talk about what has already been changed from the feedback received. In addition to demonstrating the company’s agility, it reaffirms the business’ commitment to preventing the problem from happening again.

4. I understand you. You are right to be upset about this situation.

Empathy, remember? Far beyond showing sympathy, empathy makes the agent put themselves in the customer’s shoes and truly understand the reason for the strain suffered by the situation.

Thus, expressing this effort is important to show that the company is not indifferent to the event, and that it shares the consumer’s discomfort.

5.  What do you consider a fair solution in this case?

Another key to a good apology to the customer is to make them part of the solution. So, ask him what he expects from the company at the moment and how he would feel compensated for the inconvenience.

The question can open an interesting channel for dialogue, shortening the path to solving the problem and increasing the chances of customer satisfaction.

6. I apologize for the bad experience. What happened was…

Ah, the honesty! First item on our list of things to consider before formulating an apology to the customer. Here, honesty appears in the act of justifying what led the company to the mistake it made.

It may seem like a shot in the foot, but exposing the real factors that led to the misunderstanding can arouse empathy in the client and make him see the event as a slip.

7.  We are prioritizing the resolution of your issue.

Putting the customer first should be the main objective of result-oriented companies. When a deviation occurs, then the guidance should be even clearer, including the apology.

Therefore, be sure to show the customer that the company is working to resolve their issue. In addition to reducing anxiety, the phrase demonstrates concern and care — two important pillars of customer relationships.

Avoid Future Problems: Best Practices That Help Minimize the Need for Apology Statements

Knowing how to create a good apology for the customer is important. But, more important than that is knowing what to do so that you don’t need to create a sentence like this. 

We’ve separated 4 reminders that will help you track and identify customer demands before they become problems:

  • Make follow up sales ;
  • Practice active listening at all stages of the business process;
  • Track the purchase journey through the customer’s history;
  • Conduct satisfaction surveys.

Want an extra tip to avoid having to send the customer an apology sentence? Keep an eye on what they want and provide the best service possible!