Important note: Taking responsibility for our mistakes is core to any healthy culture. It's important to walk the balance between being transparent about mistakes and safeguarding the company from legal liability. An apology (even a verbal one) is effectively admitting liability, and if, for example, it is a severe issue that ends up in court, the apology could be used as an admission of liability.
Helpful Apologetic Phrases
Helpful Apologetic and Empathetic Phrases
Listen to Understand First - Understand what you’re apologizing for
So I can understand the full extent of the issue/problem, could you please tell me a little more?
Use the TED technique to establish rapport
Tell me, has this happened before? Explain to me, what impact has this had on your (business, lab, etc.)? Describe how you felt about that…
I want to make sure that I really understand what you’re telling me. I’m hearing that…
For me to… it would be brilliant if you could give me just of few more details.
Thank you for alerting us to [ISSUE]. I recognize that this can’t have been an easy thing to deal with and I’m so sorry that this caused you to feel [insert expressed emotion].
I’m sorry, I can see how [ISSUE] must have been frustrating for you.
I’m very sorry, I appreciate how difficult it must have been for you to deal with.
If I were in your situation, I would feel the same.
I’m sorry to hear that
Please allow me to apologize for your experience
Thank Them for Their Feedback
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to make this right.
I appreciate you bringing this to our attention so that we can deal with this immediately.
I would feel the same in your situation, but we will sort this out…
You were absolutely right to bring this to my attention, so I can [insert action]
I will try everything I can to resolve this by [date]
As I look into this, I will [insert action]…
Tell Them How You Will Fix It
What I’m doing now to help you is [insert action]
What I’m currently doing to help you is…
This situation is difficult, but one solution that we could try is [insert solution]
Now that I’m aware of the situation, we can look to fix it by [insert solution]
If I were in your situation, I would feel the same. What I would try, and I suggest that we do too, is to [insert solution]
Promise a Specific Follow-Up
I will contact you as soon as I have an update
I will work on resolving the problem and will be in touch by [date]
I’m sorry that you’ve had this issue, but we have managed to [insert solution]. Now we have done that, our next steps are [insert next steps]
End the Call on a Positive Note
[summarize next steps/key takeaways/reiterate commitment to follow-up if needed]
Your satisfaction means everything to us. Have we covered everything that you wanted to discuss today?
The COVID Pandemic has led to global inventory constraints. An example of how this has affected the company is difficulty receiving certain types of raw materials. A customer has called angry about the delay to his order as a result of this plastic shortage. He wants a guarantee that his order will be delivered by the end of the week. The problem is that we can’t get the required raw material in stock and we don’t know when we’ll be able to ship the order.
• As you may be aware, the coronavirus has had a tremendous impact on supply chains and the availability of certain supplies like plastics. • Unfortunately, the plastic shortages caused by the coronavirus have impacted the availability and supply of [product/supply]. • Our experts are hard at work identifying a solution. • We recognize that this is not ideal, and we ask for your continued patience throughout this process. • We plan on providing an update on this issue with you by [set up follow-up date and time].