collaborative technology

Email Complaints: 5 Keys to Replying

Handling complaints by email can be tricky

It is always better to handle them face-to-face or over the telephone, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. Every complaint is different, but there are enough similarities with each to approach them with a structure in mind. We can all receive complaints from customers, colleagues, suppliers, or even our boss. It is important to respond quickly, professionally, and politely.  Below is a suggested structure and some phrases to help you when handling email complaints.

5 Keys to replying to email complaints

1.  Start with a thank you:
  • Thank you for your email.
  • Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.
  • Thanks for letting me know about this issue.
2.  Apologize:
  • I am sorry to hear about …
  • We are very sorry that …
  • Please accept my apologies for …
3.  Show understanding of the other person’s situation:
  • I understand that this can cause some delays…
  • I know that this delay might cause…
  • I understand your concern regarding …
4.  Clearly state what next steps you will take to help:
  • I will contact my boss and see how we can solve this issue.
  • We will resend a new part immediately at no charge.
  • I will check with the shipping department and get back to you ASAP.
5.  End with a polite closing:
  • Sorry again for any inconvenience caused.  Let me know if you need anything else.
  • Thanks for your understanding and patience.
  • We appreciate your understanding and let us know what questions you might have.

Example of handling email complaints


Thank you for your email and bringing the shipping issue to my attention.  I am sorry to hear that you have not received the replacement part as promised.  I understand that this delay has caused you issues in production and needs to be taken care of ASAP.  I will contact our Logistics Dept and DHL immediately and see what is causing this delay.  I will then contact you immediately with the best solution.  Thanks for your understanding and patience.


By replying to email complaints quickly, professionally, and politely; you can avoid escalation of the issue.  Let us know if you have any suggestions or tips in the comment area below.