There will be times in a professional or personal relationship where you might have been careless or insensitive to the other person’s feelings and eventually, had to apologize. It is important for you to apologize and to express regret for your remorseful actions. The phrase ‘Sorry for the inconvenience’ is so common now that it has lost its empathy and sincerity due to its overuse.
Now, put yourself in the shoes of the recipient and think, would you like to hear a ‘sorry for the disappointment, frustration, and difficulty you might have faced at that time? Would you wish for him or her to take a bit more responsibility for the negligent actions taken? Being late for a meeting, failure of delivery, delay in a project, canceling an appointment or not acting up to the promises, and many more regretful deeds requires an apologetic message. Lately, ‘sorry for the inconvenience’ just doesn’t make the cut.
An apology requires you to empathize with the recipient, admit your responsibility, and offer to make amends. For empathy to sound sincere, there are more appropriate ways to display regret for the particular situation. Here are a few phrases which will help you express inconvenience or peripheral acknowledgment of the situation through an email.
- “I sympathize with your frustration/situation”
For a company facing direct conversations with customers, “sorry for the inconvenience” becomes a monotonous phrase that could make the frustration of the customers even worse. Situations like technical faults, lost packages, lack of service/product require you to understand and empathize with the customers' feelings and acknowledge them. The phrase “ I sympathize with your frustration/situation” will help them subside their heightened emotions and will help both parties to stay on the same page.
Responding with empathy and correcting your mistakes will help you maintain the relationship, professional or personal. Seeing things from others’ perspectives will help you understand why they felt frustrated when you canceled a dinner or postponed your visit.
- “It’s unfortunate that”
A key method to make the recipient know you understand their situation is to address it. Recognize their emotion by pointing to an intimate detail like “I realize this is out of the blue, I know how much you have been wanting to go to the concert”. By this method, the reader can feel your regret in your actions.
Words through email can create an impact on the receiving end, so it’s basic etiquette to soften the blow while delivering regrettable news. It may require professional business writing training to get a hang of presenting inconvenience to a customer or an acquaintance.
- “We appreciate your patience, thank you for having us”
This phrase is exponentially valid in times like in the current COVID pandemic. When the majority of services are being put on hold, the public has been extremely patient and understanding. Unfortunate and regretful incidents take place all the time. Nothing is in our control, and we need to make sure our client is comfortable with the wait as well. For example, you have applied for a job and not even one company is accepting in current times, so you receive a letter stating the company’s regret because of certain situations in which they state their gratitude for choosing them. It is likely to create an understanding of the company’s current situation and let you feel better because there isn’t anyone to blame for it.
- “We’re deeply sorry, but let us help”
An apology is good and necessary, but action is much better. When there are options or solutions to offer to the recipient, it is always the best idea to present those options. This will help the recipient understand you are being responsible for the inconvenience and ready to put in the effort to correct the mistake. For example, when someone orders a product online but the delivered item is not the one that is ordered. This puts you in a place to apologize for the mix-up and propose options to deliver the correct product and present some company offer to make up for them.
When you exhibit the recipient with ways to help, this will leave a great imprint in their minds and make them come back to you. This method will help you down the road and when the opportunity is there for you to fix it, do so.
- Wrap up the apology
Nobody wants to face situations where they need to be sorry for the inconvenience, but they are inevitable. Someone has to step up their game and address the issue. So it is completely normal to face them. Effectively apologizing via email can be the best option. Email writing course is the key for effective email drafting for crucial scenarios. Since it doesn’t depend on setting up a meeting or someone answering the phone, email can also be quick. Mistakes happen, but when you make a solid apology, the person on the other end needs to be acknowledged and keep a good impression on you and your brand.
Daljeet Kaur Lal is an HR Trainer who has extensive work experience of over 11 years. She is now working with Edoxi Training Institute, Dubai. She develops and executes various HR training programs to ensure that employees have the skills and knowledge to meet the organization's objectives.
She is passionate about learning new things. She enjoys spending her free time reading favourite books and listening to all-time favourite melodies in English and Hindi. She is also keenly involved in Adventurous activities and loves to travel a lot.