How To Apologize To Your Client

Published by Mike Michalowicz (Google+)

It’s not just Tiger. When entrepreneurs mess up, we need to apologize too. I’m not talking about indiscretions or extra marital affairs. I’m talking about mistakes in customer service, or missed promises, or any version of a royal cluster f*ck.

As an entrepreneur you need to take care of your clients, big time. They are the lifeblood of your business after all. When you screw up (and you will at some point), here’s how you apologize and get back on track:

Say It Now

When you make a mistake, acknowledge it to your customer as soon as you identify it. If you don’t have the fix yet, tell your customer when you will be back to them with the solution.

Face Or Phone, Not Email

Mistakes can result in emotional conversations, which don’t convey well over email. Meet face to face or at least over the phone.


Provide them with a detailed account of the mistake and don’t downplay it. But, don’t over dramatize it either. Stick to the facts.

Acknowledge It

Recognize that you have done some damage to your client and it may even have indirect effects that you are not aware of.

Sincere Regret

Be sincere and explain how you regret it happened.


Give your client appreciation for being your client and sticking with you over the years.

The Fix

Bottom line, you need to make things right. Propose a solution to your client and make sure they agree to its appropriateness. Also, be prepared to offer a form of restitution.

Bury The Hatchet

Once you resolve the problem, seek confirmation from the client that you have fixed the mistake to their complete satisfaction. Take action to ensure the mistake never happens again.

By Mike Michalowicz, Author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

Category: Getting Clients, The Right Actions
Tags: , , , , , , , .
  • SFaith

    This is an under-addressed topic and you’ve covered it well. I hate it when a business person I’m doing business with messes up and won’t acknowledge it much less apologize.

    Catchy blog name, by the way. I had to click just out of curiosity. I’m glad I did.

    • Mike Michalowicz

      @SFaith – thank you for checking out TPE! And thanks for leaving a comment.

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