Writing a letter of apology is one of the toughest assignments in business correspondence, maybe the toughest. Since every situation is different, generalizing is difficult. But here are some points worth keeping in mind. 1. Lead with an apology. It puts the reader at ease, letting him or her know up front that the letter is not going to be a stonewalling exercise. 2. Keep it simple. Apologize, recap what happened, explain corrective actions that will prevent a repeat, offer compensation (when applicable), and apologize again. Briefly. 3. Be careful about assigning or accepting blame. On one level, the customer is always right. But what happens when the customer blames you for a problem that he partially or completely caused? What happens when responsibility is shared or unclear? Most of us, myself included, tend to become defensive and argumentative when composing a letter of apology. If that tone seeps into your letter, you will succeed only in further inflaming your customer. Far better to write your letter in this frame of mind:
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