How to Apologize in Business

Every once in a while, something will go wrong in your business. You might make a mistake, a vendor you work with might goof up, but the bottom line is it may cause a problem for one of your clients. It is important to extend a business apology the right way when something goes wrong.

business apology

When something goes wrong, you break the trust that your client has in you and your ability to deliver your service. In order to rebuild that trust, there are some important elements that need to go into your business apology.

Making a Business Apology

First of all, you should always say you’re sorry. That’s key. Start with “I’m sorry,” and then admit that you were wrong. For whatever reason, you let the ball down, a vendor didn’t follow through and you didn’t realize it, but somehow you need to take accountability and show that you know that you were wrong.

Then you need to let your client know that it will never happen again. Tell them the ways you’re going to change your procedures so that it won’t happen to them or to anyone else in the future. Then you need to fix it. Ask your client what you can do to make things right again.  You may offer to reimburse to them.  You may offer them something free of equal value or even greater value. Do whatever it takes to make it right in the eyes of your client.

Then lastly, ask for their forgiveness. When you do all these things, you’re rebuilding the trust that was broken and that is key to keeping your clients and to increasing and deepening your relationship you have with them.

Consequences of not Apologizing

If you ignore a problem and don’t acknowledge it, clients are going to quickly go to someone else who they feel they can trust. They will seek out a business that isn’t going to fall down on the job. If you go through these steps to acknowledge what you’ve done wrong and to assure them that it won’t happen again, clients will be more forgiving and willing to work with you again. It’s a matter of integrity to step up to the plate when you’ve done something wrong and apologize.

At Touch Your Client’s Heart, we can help you with an apology gift if you need to send something to say you’re sorry.  We can also help you craft an appropriate business apology. Schedule a call to learn how to make the most of your business apology. Remember to apologize when you do something wrong in your business. It will repair the damage that the mistake has made.


  1. I have been waiting to apologize to a client. I did apologize at the time and took responsibility for it, but she’s gone radio silence on me even though I have items I need to return to her. I knew I needed to do something else, but was somehow waiting for something. Well, this blog post was it. It confirmed that what I was thinking to do was correct. I may not get further business from her – I may have permanently burned that bridge – however, I will know I have done everything in my power to rectify it. Thank you.

    • DebBrown says

      Fancy – so glad this was the incentive you needed to go the extra mile. You may not earn her business back, but you can hopefully protect your reputation.

  2. So True. I remember getting frozen after a client was upset about an error in billing-it was already fixed, but her statement showed a charge, a chargeback, and a second charge and she was upset. I apologized, but didn’t really do anything beyond that, as I didn’t know what else to do at the time (and I was upset at the employee who did it as well for many reasons, so that also blocked me.) Thanks for the reminder there are other ways to go farther than just an apology.

    • DebBrown says

      Isn’t it interesting that we “freeze” when a client is upset? I think we don’t want to be wrong or offend a customer. Taking that extra step can help move out of feeling frozen into feeling that you’ve done all you can.

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