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Email Marketing Guide: The Power of Apology Emails

If you have never faced unforeseeable circumstances in your business that might have resulted in small to big mistakes, it’s likely that your business is relatively new. Catering to the needs of thousands of customers is a huge responsibility, and things go wrong. When they do, not taking immediate steps to abate the damage might result in the loss of the very customers to whom you owe your entire success. Consequently, those tasked with dealing with the mishap often find themselves at the end of their wits figuring out the best way to minimise the damage.


Said best way to deal with mistakes is as simple as what your mom taught you as a toddler: to apologise for it. Discussion on the importance of apology in marketing reached its peak about a year ago, when the CEO of Threadless published a LinkedIn article explaining how personally apologising for over thirty thousand delayed orders during Christmas saved his company significant amounts of revenue. His irrefutable reasoning and example was subsequently followed by the likes of DMA (UK) and a number of other companies around the world. This article will discuss at some length the assuaging effect of apology emails, and consolidate a few ways of appropriately doing it.

A Simple Email Can Go a Long Way

When a customer is put to an inconvenience because of a fault at your end, it is natural for them to feel frustrated and angry at your company. Giving them a platform to vent their frustration goes a long way towards preventing them from leaving you altogether. A statement of apology soliciting a response from a customer is a fundamental way to react after making an error.

Naturally, the best way to apologise to a large demographic of population is over email. If a customer has done business with you, then you must already have their email IDs, and an email gives you the edge of talking to every customer personally. It allows you to talk one-to-one with your customer regarding the specific order they made (or service they availed), to explain simply the circumstances that led to the mishap, to claim full responsibility for their trouble and offering them a means of communicating their annoyance.

Moreover, emails are a good choice for a quick way to contact a lot of people – this is important too, as a delayed apology is almost as bad as the absence of one. It is noteworthy that while tech companies such as NVIDIA, Microsoft, and Apple are known for making public apologies in dedicated internet forums, they do it to augment individual emails sent to their customers and not as a replacement for it.

Another thing that emails can do best is an offer of compensation. After a business blunder, nothing makes it up to a customer like being offered a product or service for free. Gift coupons, freebies, and free credit are possible ways in which you can compensate for any distress your customers went through.

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Shriya Garg
Shriya is the co-founder and CEO at ContentNinja. She started her first blog when she was 12 years old, and coded her first website by the time she was 14. An avid reader and writer, she published her first book when she was 16 years old and has sold over 10,000 copies since. When she's not fielding client calls, Shriya can be found cleaning cat hair from her clothes.