A formal apology letter is the best mode of expressing one’s sincere apology for a mistake committed. If you have wronged another person or an organization while performing actions or duties in a professional or formal capacity, then it is only ethical that you express your apologies formally through a well-crafted letter of apology.
Whether you are an employee who is seeking for consideration for your excessive tardiness or absenteeism or if you are a business owner apologizing to your client for a bad service, you need to be equipped with the appropriate knowledge in writing a formal apology letter. To help make things easier for you in your letter-writing, we provide you with formal apology letters that can enlighten you as to the proper format and content of a formal apology letter. To utilize our templates, simply download these for free!
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Apology Letters: Its Usefulness to Society
When you have wronged a person whom you know intimately such as a family member or a close friend, a verbal apology is oftentimes considered as sufficient to eliminate some of the hurt and emotional or actual damage that they have suffered from your action. In formal settings, however, things are a tad bit different. It is oftentimes considered as an inadequate mode of rectifying an error or mistake done in a professional or formal setting. The reason for this inadequacy lies on the fact that a verbal apology does not have a tangible proof that it has actually been spoken thus, making it easier for the person making the apology to escape accountability for his/her actions since he/she cannot be reprimanded should he/she commit similar mistakes in the future.
Indeed, a verbal apology in a formal, professional, or business setting is tantamount to a vacuous statement that is devoid of value. As harsh as it sounds, dealing with individuals and organizations in a formal or professional manner requires you to become more ethical and formal in your dealings. This formality extends to apologies.
In the formal setting, you need to express your apology through a formal apology letter. A formal apology letter allows you to
- acknowledge your wrongful actions humbly and clearly through the direct narration of the event that has caused you to commit a mistake that you are saying sorry for;
- specify these mistakes in such a way that it would comfort the apology-recipient as to the extent of your sincerity and self-accountability;
- express your genuine guilt for the wrong that you have committed;
- give explanation for your actions in order to soften the blow that they have received from it or to ease the pain or damage you have caused; and
- provide specific remedies to rectify the wrong that you have made.
What Are the Specific Circumstances That Require a Formal Apology?
The following are the circumstances that would require you to write a formal apology:
- If you are an employee who is always late in going to work, you can ask for consideration from your HR, manager, or employer.
- If you are an employee whose number of absences are alarming despite being previously warned to desist from being absent, then you may explain your case to your HR.
- If you are a sales clerk or business owner who has provided substandard service to a client, you may provide an explanation for such quality of service.
- If you are a sales manager or business owner who has knowingly delivered a product later than the date agreed upon, you may opt to give your clients a refund or discount for the late delivery.
- If you are a client or customer who has not paid for the product or service purchased or availed, then you may express your apologies through this letter and provide a specific date when you can make your payment, or better yet, send your payment together with your apology letter.
- If you are a business owner or manager whose subordinates or staff have mistreated a customer, then you may offer your apologies to your client in order to save the reputation of your business or company.
Whatever the reason you may have for writing an apology letter, you must ensure that you are writing it according to the proper rules on formatting, layout, and content of formal apology letters. To help guide you in your sincere expression of your apology, you may refer to our collection of formal apology letter that you may download for free. To access these templates, simply click on the link provided.
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Size: 25 KB
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Steps to Take before Writing an Apology Letter
Here are some guidelines for you to follow should you have any need to write a formal apology letter:
Know the facts of your mistake.
If you are truly sorrowful about a wrongdoing that you have committed, then you know the value of taking the time to mentally go through the details of your mistake. You can do this through self-reflection or if your memory of the incident is hazy or you lack factual backing, you may confer to other individuals who have knowledge of your mistake or action. This is a crucial step since this would help illuminate your mind as to some aspect of your mistake that you may have forgotten or overlooked. The depth of your understanding of the situation would manifest as a proof of the sincerity of your apology, which can be witnessed in the way you would write your apology letter.
Assess the readiness of your letter-recipient.
It is not enough that you are willing to apologize. It is also important that the person you are sending your letter to is ready to accept or at least, to entertain an apologetic plea from you. If you can sense that he/she is not yet ready to consider your side, then you may choose to allow some time to pass in order for him/her to simmer down, or in the case of an employer-employee relationship, this would allow your employer some time to gather the necessary data regarding your action. In turn, your employer or manager would be better equipped with adequate information in order to make an informed decision or response to your apology.
Know the standard formatting rules on writing formal letters.
Before you can even start to write your apology letter, you must learn how to properly format a formal apology letter. In order to do this, you may scour the Internet for sources of information. For your convenience, you may download our sincere formal apology letter templates.
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Things to Remember in Writing a Formal Apology Letter
When writing this letter, make sure that you are able to follow these crucial steps:
- Remember to introduce yourself and your relation to the letter-recipient formally. Never assume that since you are in first-name basis with your boss, manager, or professor, that you can use an informal tone. As long as your wrongdoing is done within the formal setting, your apology must also be formal.
- Write your letter in such a manner that it follows the standard formatting rules of formal letters.
- After you have introduced yourself, write specifically that you are writing with the intent of asking for an apology.
- Then you may specify the reason for your apology by briefly narrating the incident of your mistake or wrongdoing.
- After your narration, you may include a concise explanation as to why you have done that action. Although, this part is inessential, you can always opt to forego this part since some individuals may consider your explanation as a sign that your apology is insincere. However, if you think that an explanation of the whys of your action would help alleviate the stress felt by your letter-recipient, then by all means, explain your actions.
- Offer a remedy or solution that can help resolve the negative results caused by your actions.
- Lastly, don’t forget to assure your letter-recipient that you have learned from your mistake. Also, promise him/her that you would avoid repeating your action.
- Conclude your letter formally with a polite closing remark.
Formal Acceptance of Apology Letter
As the name suggests, this letter serves as an acceptance of a formal apology. This is necessary in order to heal formal relationships that have suffered from a wrongdoing committed by one of its parties. Mostly, formal apologies are being done in order to
- save a formal business or professional relationship from being dissolved;
- encourage both parties to continue with their formal relationship in order for both of them to mutually benefit from such formal relationship;
- provide a solution for the results of a mistake or wrongdoing;
- if a solution is not possible, provide something that could help make up for or atone your mistakes (e.g., a discount, a freebie, etc.); and
- assure the party wronged that the wrongdoer would strive to desist from committing the same action.
When all of the abovementioned aims of an apology letter is being acquiesced to by the letter-recipient, then he/she can accept the apology through a formal apology acceptance letter.