Bad Customer Experience? 5 Apology Templates to Recover Your Reputation

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Individual customer had bad experience Regain trust after widespread issue Rant on public forum: tactful response Proactively ask for a review Apologize for site downtime and offer a coupon code
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Gracefully apologize for an individual customer's bad experience

Subject:
My sincerest apologies for [incident]

Accept responsibility for a bad customer experience even if it was not your fault.

Describe the specific steps you are taking to remedy the problem.

Put a human face on the company and make someone at the manager/executive level personally reachable.

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Apologize and regain trust after a widespread issue affects your products

Send a mass email to all your customers, personalizing their first name in the beginning of the email.

Subject:
[First Name], our sincerest apologies for [the widespread issue]

Apologize for the problem.

Describe what you have done to rectify the problem and how you are preventing a similar one from happening in the future.

Remind your customers the biggest benefit you provide them. Approach it like you're building your relationship from scratch.

Restate our company values and briefly explain how you're different from competitors.

Describe in layman terms what the processes that led to the problem are actually meant to do.

Express in a heartfelt way your hope your customer stays with your company.

Put a human face on your company by showing a non-staged photo of your team.

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Tactful response to someone who rants about your company on a public forum

If a customer rants about you on a public forum, here's how to tactfully respond.

Subject:
Re: existing subject line

Directly address the issue they raised about your company and explain how the process in question was meant to work.

If they did not contact you directly about the issue first and simply went online to vent, imply subtly in a non-accusatory manner it may have been better to contact customer support first.

Thank them to show that your company is humble enough to take criticism and learn something from it.

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Proactively ask customers who had good experiences to leave a review

People who have had negative experiences may be more motivated to leave a review so by proactively asking people who had good experiences, you balance it out. As the saying goes, "ask and you shall receive".

Subject:
Your friends would love to know what you thought of us

Reiterate the results that your product or service helps your customers achieve.

Politely ask them to leave you a review.

Explain why their review matters.

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Apologize for site downtime and offer a coupon code

Subject:
Major sorry for the site downtime + $10 off

Speaking as the founder or CEO of the company, apologize for the negative customer service experience.

Briefly explain what caused it.

Briefly explain the solution your team has implemented to prevent it from happening again. Depending on your audience, you can use a bit of wit to foster a more personal connection.

If possible, offer a small discount off their next purchase.

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Apology no no's #1: discouraging customers from leaving negative reviews

Union Street Guest House: "There will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH."

What happens when you try to penalize customers for exercising their freedom of speech?

Customer poses as Adolf Hitler to leave bad review

Apology no no's #2: not accepting responsibility and downplaying and/or euphemizing the situation

United Airlines CEO re-accommodating 'apology' for dragging passenger

You and I may call dragging someone down an airplane assault and battery. United Airlines CEO calls it "re-accommodating" customers.

Your negative customer experience probably (hopefully!) doesn't involve someone getting concussed and injured but the important takeaway is: take responsibility unless you are sure the customer fabricated or misunderstood what happened.

How a graceful apology to a negative review can win a customer back and actually improve your reputation

In this study, customers were much more likely to withdraw negative feedback after receiving an apology

Most companies aren't as clueless as a certain hotel who tried to fine their customers for leaving bad reviews. However, by relying on the outdated 'say sorry, offer refund, move on' approach, you also miss a great opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your customers. A great apology not only addresses the issue(s) the customer raised but also gently reminds people what inspired you to create your product and how you hope it can help people.

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