Les Melnichenko
Mar 11, 2021 | 8 min read

No man is wise at all times. And there is no getting around it. Mistakes do happen, no matter the industry you’re engaged in. The system went down, a client’s package is lost, the food a client ordered is delivered late, just insert your option. Such stories are widespread in a customer service niche. 

How to say it’s your fault? Obviously, blurting out a trivial “Sorry!” isn’t an option. Being a business owner, you probably care for customer loyalty and retention and want your audience to stay with you as long as possible. 

We are here to ease your distress when composing those heartfelt lines. You’ll say “sorry for the inconvenience” sounding more natural, original, and not cliched after reading this piece. Here it goes!

Reasons to stop saying “sorry for the inconvenience”

Count how many times you forced out these words in your customer service interactions: “Sorry for any inconvenience, this won’t happen again“. Aren’t you sick and tired of them already? Not only are they generic but also outdated. If you’re trying to better customer relations, you should know the reasons why clients might NOT be OK with the phrase:

  1. Lack of authenticity. The phrase in question has been used since year one and already become cheesy. Most clients know about it and think a support team may use it on autopilot. Don’t do that, change the system!
  2. More than an inconvenience. A client faces poor experience, could it be worse? A brand shouldn’t be sugar-coating even if the situation seems like a trifle (from a brand’s perspective). At the end of the day, you want customer perception to be positive.    
  3. Unempathetic meaning. Let’s call a spade a spade: “sorry for any inconvenience” may sound a little callous. In most cases, this is true without a follow-up letter. Do you want your customers to feel like they’re treated with no respect?
  4. No urgency. One of the first rules of customer service is solving a client’s issue ASAP. If you just say you’re [terribly] sorry, it won’t show your willingness to lend a helping hand quickly. 

Note!
To sell the idea even more, here is a quick checklist of the things to take into account when shaping a thoughtful and clever “sorry about the inconvenience” dialogue (plus, some useful phrases to include):

  • Mind the empathy 

I can see how important this is.. 

I realize all the frustration..

I would feel this way too..

  • Be proactive

I am here to apologize for the inconvenience we caused you..

This is [your name], I am writing to say I am sorry for the delayed response.

It’s [your name] with [company name]. I see you’re having trouble with..

  • Admit your mistakes

My mistake! As a token of my apology, please take..

This is all our fault. Sorry for the inconvenience!

My bad! We are on it so that it doesn’t happen again.

  • Provide workaround

So, here are the options I think fit:…

Let me provide you with an alternative:..

Would you mind taking a look at plan B?

  • Be approachable

In case you need further clarification, drop me a line at [email address].

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you. I am always available.

Feel free to schedule a call/chat with me.

How to say “sorry for the inconvenience” without actually saying it?

Brands do apologize. However, they do not always go with just “We apologize for any inconvenience“. The meaning is kept though, the words are different. Before we cut to the chase here, let me set real-world examples. 

Adidas was sorry after sending an email with an insensitive subject line to all Boston Marathon finishers. Clearly, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” was not a pleasant thing to say on a Patriots’ Day race. The message was met with pushback. So, what were their apologies for the inconvenience? “We are incredibly sorry“, ‘We deeply apologize for our mistake“. 

Another example is Jeff Bezos saying “sorry for the inconvenience” after the infamous Kindle accident. Amazon deleted copies of “1984” and “Animal Farm” from the users’ Kindles. Two things that caught my eye here: 1) the CEO didn’t express regrets point-blank and 2) the end line “With deep apology to our customers” seems whole-hearted and unconventional. 

Being a language enthusiast, I’m constantly on the lookout for unusual vocab and lexical expressions as it is. So, I want to provide you with alternative ways of saying “sorry for the inconvenience” without actually pronouncing these words (substituting them with both formal and less formal synonyms, if you will):

  1. Please, accept my sincere apologies…
  2. How can I make up for the [late reply/this unsatisfying situation,etc.]…
  3. I realize the situation is discomforting, I would feel it too…
  4. As a business, we can see how frustrating this issue can be…
  5. This is unacceptable and we realize we let you down.
  6. We do apologize for the problem..
  7. I regret any trouble you may have faced with the system…
  8. On behalf of our team, I would like to make amends for [the issue]..
  9. It’s our bad and we do understand that! Let us find another solution…
  10. Your [issue] is already taken care of. Mea culpa!
  11. I want to extend my sincerest apologies for…
  12. We deeply regret this incident..
  13. This is quite a situation. As a token of apology, we are…
  14. We screwed up! The weather and our horoscopes are to blame!
  15. As a way to ask for your forgiveness, we’re offering…
  16. This was an annoying slip-up on our part and we are sorry.
  17. We shouldn’t have done that. The fault is 100% ours.
  18. We’re extremely grieved that … And to make it up to you we..
  19. I offer you an apology for the discomfort you may have faced …
  20. Huge apologies to you as our loyal and much-valued customer.

Sometimes when things go south, all you can offer to a customer is your sincere apology. But you have to do that right. The most important thing is to be creative, stay professional, and not to lose your nerve (or at least try to do that).   

10 customer service situations to say “Sorry for the inconvenience” 

In the heart of the moment, it’s easy to give up on all the courtesy and professional training. With that in mind, we’ve come up with possible customer service scenarios and included all the alternative ways to apologize. 

You can use these templates in live chat, email, or even phone interactions and mix them up with the synonym expressions I provided above. Ace your next “I apologize for the inconvenience” talk and always think of the right words:

1. Poor customer service

Dear [customer name], 

On behalf of [company name], I want to extend my sincerest apologies for the negative experience that you had with our customer service agent.

I realize that [agent’s name] was [unhelpful/rude/unprofessional/etc.] in solving the issue. Your frustration at having not been properly directed to a supervisor is completely understandable. 

At [company name], we pride ourselves on going the extra mile day by day to ensure that our customers’ needs are being met to the full. I know that we have let you down. We are really sorry for that.

We do our best to train each of our representatives on how to properly handle our customers’ issues. 

Thank you for bringing this issue up to our attention. We are always looking for ways to better our service, and your feedback is highly valued.

Should you need help in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Sincerely,

[Agent’s name]

2. Delayed delivery

Dear [customer name],

I regret any trouble you may have experienced with our delivery service and the package you’ve ordered from us this [day of week].

As you are our loyal customer, we want you to be the first to know that there is a new supply this week. You will receive a message from us when the items are available to order. 

Please advise us on whether you would like to cancel your order or have us ship a new package once it becomes available. 

Again, we are sorry for the inconvenience.

Best wishes,

[Agent’s name]

3. Billing issues

Dear [customer name],

Hope you are doing well. We do apologize for the problem concerning our billing system and the amount charged previously. Our best agent is already taking care of your issue and will get back to you with the solution.

To improve your experience, we [extend the trial period/ offer a discount, etc.]. Kindly consider the information in the attachment.

Feel free to reach out to me in case you need any help.

Best regards,

[Agent’s name]

4. Refund request

Dear [customer’s name],

Please, accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience you had experienced with us recently. It’s shocking given that we devote extra attention to every client and transaction. 

Our team has taken steps to narrow down the causes of this mistake and found out that [tell the cause of the error without getting into specifics]. This is our bad and we take full responsibility.

To fix the situation, we will provide you with a refund ASAP. 

Thank you for your insightful feedback, we are improving our customer service to eliminate such mistakes down the road. 

Sincerely,

[Agent’s name

5. System downtime

Dear [customer name], 

You might have noticed our [app/system/service] had a minor turbulence today. Mea culpa! All the issues are already taken care of and it won’t happen again. 

It’s the first time that a downtime occurred since we launched and we deeply regret this incident. Please, feel free to look through our full explanation published on our [blog]. 

Don’t hesitate to contact our team once you come up with further questions.

Have a nice one!

[Agent’s name]

6. Mass sorry for the inconvenience message (after a downtime)

Dear [customer name],

I’m here to update you on our service downtime on [date and time]. Service was fully restored on [time].

I realize this is disappointing and take my apology for any inconvenience this has caused you. Please be informed that our team has been working really hard to resolve these incidents. [Clarify incident details].

As a token of apology, we are [issuing you a discount of X% for this month’s subscription/ free trial period/ free feature]. If you feel this isn’t enough, please let me know. We will discuss everything. 

Have a great day,

[Agent’s name]

7. Bug problem

Dear [customer name],

Unfortunately, a game-breaking bug has slipped through our devs’ hands recently. Please, accept my sincerest apologies for the problem with [insert your option] you have been dealing with our product. 

Our devs team has confirmed [specify the issue] and they are working hard on resolving it.

We have prioritized this, and in another X business days, this bug is completely fixed. 

Customer experience is our top-of-mind priority, so we will make sure we do thorough testing to avoid such issues in the future. 

We do understand the severity of the issue and the impact it might have on your business and would like to suggest a workaround until it is fixed. You can try [workaround]. I hope this helps.

Feel free to [schedule a screen share session/ hop on a quick call to set everything up/ chat with us].

Best regards,

[Agent’s name

8. Late reply

Dear [customer name], 

Oops! Sorry for the delayed reply. Mea culpa!

The thing is that [explain why you are late]. I think we can deal with the problem this way [provide the solution].

Ask me questions if need be!

Best wishes,

[Agent’s name

9. Scheduled maintenance

Dear [customer name],

Our team is scheduling maintenance on our [servers/platform] for [date, time, and duration of the maintenance]. Sorry for the inconvenience caused to you in this regard.

This maintenance is extremely essential because [explain the importance of the maintenance and benefits to customers]. So glad that you understand!

Thank you for being our customer.

Sincerely,

[Agent’s name]

10. Clarifying a problem

Hello [customer name],

Thank you for reaching out to us concerning [the issue]. Our team is already on it. We appreciate your patience.

We took efforts to understand the problem. Though it persists. The actions taken were [enlist the actions]. 

To streamline the process, we will need certain information from you. [Ask questions].

Thank you for staying with us. No doubts, we’ll find the solution. 

Best wishes,

[Agent’s name]

Bottom line

Your “sorry for the inconvenience” messages should be focused on one mission: to win the customer back. To succeed in this endeavor, give it one hundred and ten percent. 

As you can see, we didn’t reinvent the wheel in our scenarios, just ordinary words expressed in an offbeat manner. Remember the basics: call a customer by name, be friendly, be specific, be creative in solutions. Plus, don’t scatter your apologies with unsound statements. It’s OK to own mistakes.

To train that speech muscle of yours, decent all-in-one software is highly needed. Sign up for a free 14-day trial with HelpCrunch, the feature-packed support platform, and communicate with customers in a positive way 🙏 

Read also

Support

8 Poor Customer Service Examples from Real Life

Jul 23, 2021 16 min read

The best way to learn things is by example. That is why I have put together a list of unbelievable bad customer service stories for you. Read how you should never act towards your clients.

Tetiana Shataieva

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.