Customer Service Apology Scripts

Gladly Team

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6 minute read

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We noted in a previous article about how to write apology letters to customers that apologies can be difficult and require a strong sense of empathy and care.

But in the customer service industry, the need for speed is real. Average Handling Time (AHT) applies to all tickets and calls, even the negative ones. This means that you need to provide robust customer service apology training for agents to get through difficult calls effectively, personably, and quickly.

So having some default messages and scripts can help, especially when you and your organization may be in the wrong.

Customer service apology scripts can help to:

  • Prepare your agents for difficult customers
  • Help you transform negative experiences into positive ones
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Reduce stress for your agents
  • Improve communication skills
  • Build loyal, lifelong customers
  • Drive revenu by personalizing the customer experience
  • Speed your AHT and provide seamless support

Customer Service Apology Script Must-Haves:

Below are some must-have scenarios and answers in a customer service apology script. By providing your agents with the below script, you’re ensuring that you have a systematic approach to preparing representatives for the worst and transforming customer service agents into customer service heroes.

  • Acknowledge your mistakes – The most important things to do when you’ve made a mistake is to acknowledge that mistake, take ownership, and provide a quick and convenient solution
    • Example – If you’ve sent the wrong product to a customer or to the wrong address: “I’m so sorry about that. It seems that your order has been sent to the wrong address. That’s totally on us. Let me go ahead and resend that order right away for you.”
  •  Convey understanding – Regardless of the scenario, but especially when customers are upset, it’s important to convey understanding. Customers who feel heard also feel valued, and it demonstrates that you’re on the same side.
    • Example – If a customer is disappointed in a product: “I’m so sorry to hear. That does sound really frustrating, and I totally understand how you must be feeling. Here are a few ways I can help.”
  •  Explain problems and potential solutions – Customers want options when problems arise. Providing them with potential solutions shows you care and that you’re dedicated to giving them what they want.
    • Example – If it’s a technical delivery issue or warehouse issue: “Okay, it looks like there was an issue with our warehouse department, but I can take care of it for you right now. I can go ahead and resend your package, or if you want a refund, that’s available to you as well. What option works best for you?”
  • Express Gratitude – It’s important to express gratitude when customers offer feedback or suggestions, even if you aren’t able to do anything with their suggestion.
    • Example – Customer has suggested a product feature or new product idea to you: “Thank you so much for the recommendation. While I can’t guarantee anything, I will definitely pass this along to our product team and let them know that we have great customers like you who are excited to provide invaluable contributions to us.”
  • Personal touches – Adding a personal touch is perhaps the most important aspect of a customer service apology or interaction. Being personable and treating your customers like people, not tickets, will provide a human element your customers will remember.
    • Example – When a customer tried to make an order online but was unable to. “[Customer’s name], we’re so sorry to hear that your order wasn’t able to go through. I see here that you’ve ordered with us several times this year. Would you like it sent to your address on [name of street]? I can go ahead and send that out to you right now.”

Things like a personalized customer profile will give you access to a life-long conversation history and purchase history, allowing you to draw on the past to make the current call and experience all the more personal and human.


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What not to do in your customer service apologies

Knowing what to avoid is just as important in knowing what to lean into when interacting with customers. Below are a few best practices for what not to do in your apology canned responses.

  • Use the responses without any other context – These scripts are designed to help agents practice and hone their skills, but they need to be used at the right time with the right context. Blindly relying on a canned response to provide an apology could get you into trouble if it doesn’t make sense for the particular situation.
  • ”But” statements – “But” statements, or really any contradictory statements, should be avoided. Rather than contradict or tell your customers why they’re wrong, it’s better to focus on the positive and how to provide new solutions.
  • Over apologize – There is such a thing as being overly apologetic, and some customers might be turned off if you’re spending too much time apologizing without offering quick and careful solutions.
  • Arguing- There’s no point in arguing with a customer who is frustrated or difficult. If they refuse to work with you or hear you out, suggest that they speak with a supervisor or someone above you.
  • Rely only on the script – Scripts are great for practice, support, and refreshers to your training, but they aren’t everything. You will run into unique situations that require you to deviate from the script, and trying to fit an anomaly situation into a canned response isn’t always going to be helpful.

Regardless of what you do, be sure to maintain that sense of understanding, empathy, and personability.

Gladly has it all

Gladly provides your agents with the tools – like omni channel support, life-long conversations, and unique customer profiles – to understand your customers’ issues before the point of contact.

A more prepared agent is a more confident and helpful agent, and knowing your customers’ needs before you say “hello” will give you time to review the appropriate script and stay one step ahead of the game.

About Gladly

Gladly is a customer service platform for digitally-focused B2C companies who want to maximize the lifetime value of their customers. Unlike the legacy approach to customer service software, which is designed around a ticket or case to enable workflows, Gladly enables radically personal customer service centered around people to sustain customer loyalty and drive more revenue.

The world’s most innovative consumer companies like Godiva, JOANN, and TUMI use Gladly to create lasting customer relationships, not one-off experiences. 

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