It is wise and ethical to send an apology email or text message or put a call through after providing wrong information to a customer (or a potential customer). This is because letting it be unattended can have a wide range of negative effects on your firm. A simple communication skill like knowing how to apologize is vital to running a profitable business.
No company sets out to deliberately misguide a customer, except of course, in the case of corporately organized fraud. Therefore, ordinarily, replies to clients’ queries, marketing emails, company websites, and social media accounts should carry verifiable information regarding products and/or services. Therefore, it is a breach of trust to let your clients feed on what is not true.
Your response to such an error as providing wrong information to a client depends on where the error occurred. If you inadvertently supplied a wrong piece of information on your website or blog, you can easily pull that down and apologize on the platform on behalf of your company. However, the solution for a similar error committed via email is not that simple.
There are ways to avoid fallouts that may occur after providing wrong information to a client via email. It is possible you sent what you initially considered to be a flawless email as a response to an inquiry or promotion. Then you got feedback from a client which does not portray what you intended. It then dawned on you that something was wrong with the information you earlier provided in your email. The solution for these types of errors is what we are considering.
Types of Apology Emails
There are so many types of business emails, ranging from those that are client-oriented to those that involve your vendors or partners. We will be taking a look at mainly those related to clients or potential clients. That is, we will be dealing with apology emails related to wrong information sent to clients.
Apology Email; Response to an Inquiry
This is a situation in which a potential client sends an email to make an inquiry regarding your products or services, but receives a response that has misleading information. As a result, you now need to send an apology. It is very important to pay attention to details when responding to inquiries from potential clients. Because an apology email may not necessarily mend the bad first impression.
However, despite being thorough, you informed this potential customer that your company warehouse is located at Portsmouth, whereas, you forgot the fact that your company recently relocated the warehouse to Liverpool. The next email you received sent shock waves through your spine as you suddenly realized you wasted the time of this potential customer, who actually went to the old address and was given the right address there.
Your company may lose a major business for something like this. After getting to know that you or someone in your organization gave out wrong information in this way, you should give an immediate response; an appropriate apology email. An email that, hopefully, can repair the damage already done.
To ensure that your apology email does what you intend it to do, follow the guidelines below:
This is a show of maturity and willingness to improve. There is no point in trying to deny or absolve yourself or your company of any fault. You need to accept that the error was from your company. Do not put the blame on a subordinate who may have been directly responsible for providing the wrong information, this will only show that you lack the capacity to lead, or that your company hires unprofessional individuals.
It’s Not Personal
Remember that the client is treating the situation as a collective fault on your company’s side. Therefore, do not take it personally. You or someone in your company created a mess, your job at this point is to fix it. Do not tactically take yourself out of the picture, rather represent the company, take the fall and win back the client through the apology email.
This lets the client know that you actually do care and can connect to what he has been put through. Whether the error was from you or someone else, it is important to demonstrate empathy. Empathy also means that you will treat the customer the same way you would want to be treated if you were in his position. An apology email without empathy will not show care or concern for the recipient.
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This is the key aspect of your apology email. It cannot be overemphasized. You need to show the customer that you are sincerely sorry for the wrong information he received via email and what he had been through as a result.
Rectify the Error
Ensure you provide the right information to the customer in the apology email you are sending. What is the point of apologizing if the earlier mistake is not corrected? If it is possible and in line with your company’s policy, you may compensate the person with a coupon or a discount on a product or service.
Observe all the rules of formal email writing. Ensure your apology email is free from grammatical and typographical errors. It should be passionate and succinct. Most people would respond to an emotional appeal rather than a logical one. Simply put, show that you care, that you are concerned and that you will correct the error.
Put a Call Through
Though an apology email may have the power to achieve your set objective, following up the issue via phone call is also vital. It shows your genuine dedication to pacify and win back the (potential) client. Your phone call is mainly to buttress the points in your apology email.
Sample Email: Apology Email; Response to an Inquiry
Dear Mr Solomon, On behalf of the management of Food Star Enterprise, I apologize for the inconvenience you experienced due to the wrong information you received from us. I understand it is no easy task to drive the distance you did, worse still was that you could not achieve your goal for going through the trouble. You are very important to us. The unpleasant experience you had was not intended, however, we take full responsibility for it. Please kindly accept our deepest apologies once more. Our new warehouse is located at Middlesbrough, Tees Valley, FS2 4BX. Please feel free to contact me via this email or via the company’s customer care email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is my personal number;1642 806 300. Please kindly let me know when it would be convenient to put a call through to you to further discuss this matter. We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your kind understanding. Warm regards, John Huffman Head, Client Relations Food Star Enterprise
Apology Email; Error in a Proposal
This is the type of apology email you would need to send to rectify wrong information in a proposal. Your company may have prepared and sent a proposal to a customer or a potential one either on request or otherwise. You later discovered through the feedback you received or some other means that your proposal had inaccurate details.
The first thing to do is to carefully peruse the entire proposal to see if there are more errors. Do this with a team or at least someone experienced in proposal writing. Go over the document a number of times. If you have used a particular template to prepare the proposal, it means you may need to review other proposals you had sent using the same template.
After identifying all the wrong information in the document, you are ready to start writing your apology email. One other factor to consider is whether the wrong information supplied had made your customer make decisions which may be affected after you rectify the error. For instance, in your proposal, you stated that you will supply beef for a hotel at a particular rate per week. The hotel manager had presented his annual budget to the board based on this rate, only for you to later discover that your math was wrong.
An apology email and even a phone call may not suffice in some cases like the one mentioned above. You may need to arrange for a face-to-face meeting with the customer to repair the damage. This is very important whether it involves a potential client or a loyal one. Do not take anyone for granted.
The body of the apology email, in this case, is similar to that for Apology Email; Response to an Inquiry already discussed. However, there are subtle differences. Here, you will need to note the mistake early in the email and ensure to mention your desire for a one-on-one meeting.
Sample Email: Apology Email; Error in a Proposal
Dear Mr Washington, Hope this email meets you well? I will like to draw your attention to an error made in the proposal I sent earlier. Please kindly note that the rate for the beef supply on the document was wrong. I noticed it after I reworked the math. On behalf of Food Star Enterprise, I sincerely apologize for this mistake. You mentioned that you have presented the organization’s budget to the board when we spoke last week. We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience we have caused you. I have attached the corrected proposal to this email. Please let me know when I can call you and possibly fix a meeting to further discuss this issue. Please accept our apologies once again. Thank you. Regards, Monica Santana Ag Head, Business Development Food Star Enterprise
Apology Email; Promotional Email Error
If you realize that the promotional email you sent in a broadcast contains wrong information, do not send an apology email! Yes! You heard me right. There are reasons for this.
- Most people do not read promotional emails
- If you send an apology email, you expose an error no one might have noticed
- You create unnecessary bad publicity for your company
- It can be corrected by sending another broadcast bearing the right information with a small note asking the client to kindly disregard the earlier email.
The last point mentioned is the main solution for this type of error. However, if a customer sends you feedback complaining about the wrong information in the broadcast, use the guideline for Apology Email; Response to an Inquiry to respond.