Bad Customer Experience? 5 Apology Templates to Recover Your Reputation

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Individual customer had bad experience Regain trust after widespread issue Rant on public forum: tactful response Proactively ask for a review Apologize for site downtime and offer a coupon code
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Gracefully apologize for an individual customer's bad experience

Subject:
I'm really sorry about [incident]

Accept responsibility for a bad customer experience even if it was not your fault.

Describe the specific steps you're taking to avoid the same issue from happening again.

Put a human face on the company and let the customer contact you or someone else at the manager level.

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Apologize and regain trust after a widespread issue affects your products

Subject:
I'm really sorry about [the widespread issue]

Sincerely apologize for the problem.

Describe what you're doing to rectify the issue and how you're preventing a similar one from happening in the future.

Remind your customers the biggest benefit you provide them and what inspired you to create the company.

Provide some details about how you work behind the scenes to show the issue wasn't caused by a careless mistake.

Express your heartfelt hope your customer stays with the company.

Put a human face on your company by showing a non-staged photo of your team.

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Tactful response to someone who rants about your company online

Subject:
Re: existing subject line

Directly address the issue they raised and explain how the process related to their situation was meant to work.

If they did not contact customer support first before commenting online, suggest they do so next time to receive a response faster. This would also pass along the idea to your audience who may be reading the exchange.

Thank them to show that your company can take criticism well and learn from it.

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Proactively ask customers who had good experiences to leave a review

Subject:
What do you think of us?

Reiterate the results that your product or service helps your customers achieve.

Politely ask them to leave you a review.

Explain why their review makes a difference to motivate them to leave one.

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Subject:
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Mention where you came across this prospect and use the topic they commented on to open the conversation.

Provide them valuable lesser known insights related to the topic they commented on and the services you provide.

Mention a specific result you achieved for a client to intrigue them into asking for more details.

Apologize for site downtime and offer a coupon code

Subject:
Major sorry for the site downtime + $10 off

Speaking as the founder or CEO of the company, apologize for the negative customer service experience.

Briefly explain what caused it.

Briefly explain the solution your team has implemented to prevent it from happening again. Depending on your audience, you can use a bit of humor to lighten the situation.

If possible, offer a small discount off their next purchase to apologize for the inconvenience.

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Apology no no's #1: discouraging customers from leaving negative reviews

Union Street Guest House: "There will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH."

What happens when you try to penalize customers for exercising their freedom of speech?

Customer poses as Adolf Hitler to leave bad review

Apology no no's #2: not accepting responsibility and downplaying and/or euphemizing the situation

United Airlines CEO re-accommodating 'apology' for dragging passenger

You and I may call dragging someone down an airplane assault and battery. United Airlines CEO calls it "re-accommodating" customers.

Your negative customer experience probably (hopefully!) doesn't involve someone getting concussed and injured but the important takeaway is: take responsibility unless you are sure the customer fabricated or misunderstood what happened.

How a graceful apology to a negative review can win a customer back and actually improve your reputation

In this study, customers were much more likely to withdraw negative feedback after receiving an apology

Most companies aren't as clueless as a certain hotel who tried to fine their customers for leaving bad reviews. However, by relying on the outdated 'say sorry, offer refund, move on' approach, you also miss a great opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your customers. A great apology not only addresses the issue(s) the customer raised but also gently reminds people what inspired you to create your product and how you hope it can help people.

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