How to Write a Letter of Apology

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‘To err is human'; it may have become a cliché but still, it's true. As humans, we are prone to make mistakes.

Imagine, you are assigned to a very vital job and you have made a mistake! This is awful and demotivating at the same time for an employee or an employer or a stakeholder or even a CEO. We all know that it is very familiar in our everyday working situations. But the relieving part is we can always mend our mistakes and cut the loss by writing a proper letter of apology.

What is a Letter of Apology?

It is a formal letter to apologize for a mistake which is done unintentionally and reassuring the authority about not to repeat that mistake again and doing the job accurately next time. If we make a mistake that can put our client’s venture is in danger, it is a matter of business ethics to take the responsibility and pursue the necessary steps to correct our error. 

Why it is important to write a letter of apology?

According to some psychologists, an apology has the power to repair harm, mends relationships whether it is personal or professional. Apology gives a person the power of authority to work with transparency and confidence and reliance. It improves the workplace environment and keeps away the toxic situations among the colleagues. Apologizing doesn't make a team member or a staff the ‘villain' in the office rather it helps to ease the situation and makes room for betterment. It actually helps in developing the mentality of tolerance.

Here we can put an example of the CocaCola Company. In 1999, a boy from Belgium became ill after drinking a bottle of CocaCola. Within days, hundreds of people had fevers, dizziness, and nausea by drinking CocaCola beverages, and many made their way to hospitals. The CEO Douglas Ivester went casual on the issue and did not apologize rather he insisted that it was not caused by the beverage. But this caused serious public wrath and Germany, Belgium and France removed more than 50 million beverages from their stores. Later, Ivester had to make a public announcement and apologized and took responsibility for the company. So considering this crisis it is clear that not apologizing for a hazard can make the situation worsen only.

How to organize a letter of apology?

  • Introduce yourself: At first introduce yourself, your company, your position in the company. It is important to clarify your authority before apologizing and how you are connected to the issue that is going to be discussed.
  • Address the appropriate victim: identify the exact person whose work has been done poorly. Address him/her directly. Addressing the wrong person can cause confusion.
  • Introduce the topic: Now without much ado, come to the point. Explain the matter. Say why it was wrong and make them understand that you have understood the depth of the problem.
  • Say the ‘word’: uttering words like ‘sorry’, ‘mistake’, ‘apology’ etc will make the letter more strong and mature. It will not make your position lower or insecure rather it will elevate your position as an authoritative person in the office.
  • Promise your sincerity: It is time to fix your gaffe and make promises to the client. Make your point clear and assure them it will not happen again and the work will be done accurately this time.
  • Conclusion: conclude the letter by thanking the client for his/her patience and trust upon the company. Express your gratitude for giving you another chance and your desire to work with them again.

Do’s:

  • Use formal and bold language.
  • Use fonts like Times New Roman and print it in high quality.
  • Keep the letter short and simple. As they say, “less is more”.
  • Give some simple strategies that you can adapt to solve the issue.
  • Try to send the letter as early as possible and be up to date about the problem.

Dont’s:

  • Don’t write in an informal way.
  • Don’t use fonts like Forte.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed by your mistake. Remember that you are in an official environmental not in a family get together.
  • Don’t nag about your mistake.
  • Don’t avoid saying ‘sorry’ or ignore the mistake.
  • Don’t try to over explain the situation.
  • Don’t send it after two or three months after the incident. Try to make it within three working days.
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