writingIn this lesson we're going to be looking at emails that address problems and mistakes that you, your staff or your company have made. These emails will be in response to a complaint, either an internal one or from one of your clients or customers. The complaint could range from something very simple such as pointing out an error in some figures, to something more complex such as a delay to the construction of a building project.

Whatever the situation, however, you can follow the same basic structure when responding. You will need to reference the problem, say what action you are taking or have taken, apologise, and give your assurances that the problem will be rectified.

Recommended Structure


PARAGRAPH 1: Reference the mistake or problem
PARAGRAPH 2: Say what action you are taking or have taken / Identify the cause
PARAGRAPH 3: Apologise for the mistake or problem
PARAGRAPH 4: Give assurances that the mistake or problem will be rectified/resolved
PARAGRAPH 5: Polite close (perhaps repeat the apology / show sympathy)



We'll now look at a sample of the language you could use in each paragraph. For a more comprehensive list of language, please see the 'functional language' page.

Reference the mistake or problem

In this paragraph you will need to clearly reference the problem that your reader has pointed out. You can thank him or her for letting you know about it. For example, you could say: