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26 “I/We Apologize For The Delay” Phrase And Email Templates

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Delays happen to all businesses all the time. They’re all too common in 2023, what with global shipping problems leading to longer delivery times. Not to mention that millions of people working in the corporate sector are experiencing burnout. They don’t have the mental or emotional energy to stay on top of answering every email or checking up on the shipment status of a customer’s late order.

That’s why, in these times in particular, we should always be prepared to send a tactful “I/We apologize for the delay” email or chat message.

What are Snippets?

If you work on any customer-facing team, then Sapling’s Snippets can help you save time. Think about all the common phrases you send in your emails that you have to type out each time such as “Feel free to reach back out if you have any further questions!” Why not instead type a short macro and have that entire sentence automatically expanded for you?

That’s exactly what snippets does. Snippets allow you to upload your most commonly used phrases or sentences into a response bank. To use the snippet you want, simply press the backslash \ key or type the shortcut and voilà!

I/We Apologize For The Delay Situations

Even without throwing a global pandemic into the mix, life stirs itself up enough to account for all kinds of delays that we as business owners must own up to. Even – and this is the painful part – if the delay is not our fault. Taking ownership of it is part of owning and running a successful business.

Below are 4 common “I/We apologize for the delay” situations that you and any of your employees may run into on a given day.

Shipping Delay

Shipping delays can occur for several reasons. In one case, your customer’s order may be stuck on a boat that got stuck in the Suez Canal en route from overseas. In another, a flood could have spilled into the distribution center nearest the customer’s residence and ruined your goods. Or their order could be delayed through the post office, which is well-known for getting backed up especially around the holidays.

When there’s a shipping delay, whether there’s anything you can do about it or not, the proper course of action is to send an email or message to the customer apologizing for the prolonged wait.

Late Response To Email

Everyone responds late to an email from time to time. Sometimes a new email gets lost in a sea of them, or we think to ourselves, “I’ll answer that later.” But then later never comes.

When later inevitably does come, you’ll want a polite “I apologize for the delay” phrase ready to deploy.

Service Outage

Service outages are unavoidable whenever you’re selling a software or another digital service-based product. Even apps crash every now and then, most of the time because they need an update. Regardless of when or why it happens, a service outage always happens at the wrong time for the customer. Be swift to send them a message as soon as you hear about the problems they’re experiencing and apologize for the delay.

Short Staffed With High Customer Support Volume

As a business, you will experience periods when you are short staffed. Unfortunately, customer service doesn’t stop just because you don’t have all hands on deck. The calls and service requests will keep coming. Your customers will know that something is different because they are not being served as fast as usual. Sending them a “We apologize for the delay” message may help mitigate some of their frustration and buy your team some extra time to handle the high support volume.

Tips To Write An I/We Apologize For The Delay Emails

An “I/We apologize for the delay” email rings hollow unless it’s written to include a few key elements. The recipient wants to know why there was a delay, how long it’s going to take, and when they can expect to achieve satisfaction. It’s not always possible to answer every one of these questions, but if you use polite, tactful language and tell the truth, it’s not always necessary, either.

Below are 3 tips for how to write a successful “I/We apologize for the delay” email.

Get To The Why Right Away

After you apologize for the delay, get to the “why” right away. Why was my shipment delayed? Why didn’t you answer this email last week when I sent it to you? The recipient is going to want the reason for the delay. They’ve waited this long, and they feel they deserve to know.

You don’t have to go into minute detail with the reason. But telling the recipient why the thing they expected was/is delayed will make them feel more a part of the conversation.

Don’t Play The Blame Game

Never blame a specific person or department in your business for a delay. Remember that everyone in your company is on the same team. Even if someone fumbled the ball, the customer doesn’t need to know that. They should never be privy to behind-the-scenes drama or mistakes. If an employee made a mistake, “we the company” is responsible as far as the customer is concerned, never an individual.

Set Realistic Expectations

With a delay, it’s important to set realistic expectations for the future. If possible, give an estimate in the number of days for how long the delay will take. For example, a delayed shipment may now take 14-21 days to reach the customer instead of 7-10. Since you’ve been out sick, a report you would normally have been able to finish by Monday will take you until Thursday.

Again, make sure the expectations you set are realistic. If it’s unlikely that the customer will ever receive the shipment, tell them the truth, and offer them a refund or to resend the product. If you need more time to work on that report, say so. Don’t say it will happen faster just because you wish it to.

I/We Apologize For The Delay Phrase Examples

Below are 16 examples of “I/We apologize for the delay” phrases you can insert in your future correspondence.

I/We Apologize For The Delay Email Templates

Below are 10 “I/We apologize for the delay” email templates for you to use in your professional as well as everyday correspondence.

Email Template #1 - Late Response

Hello {{first_name}},

I apologize for the delay in my response.

I was out sick for the last week and was unable to respond to your previous email right away. Do you still need me to perform the task you requested? If so, I will need until {{specific_date}} to complete it as I am still catching up on work I missed. Please let me know if this is acceptable.



Email Template #2 - Late Response

Hello {{first_name}},

I apologize for the delay in my reply. I was cleaning out my inbox today and realized I must have missed your email. I attached the file you requested in case you still need it.



Email Template #3 - Short Staffed

Hello {{first_name}},

I apologize for the delay in responding to your service request. We’re short staffed here so it is taking us more time than usual to get to all our customers. I’d be happy to look into the shipment status of your order for you. Please give me 24 hours to investigate.



Email Template #4 - Shipping Delay

Hello {{first_name}},

I apologize for the delay. I know you have been eagerly awaiting an update on your shipment. Unfortunately, I have no news for you. Our boat is still plugged in the Suez canal. I can refund your money now or place another order for the same item at no additional cost to you. Please let me know what you would prefer.



Email Template #5 - Service Outage

Hello {{first_name}},

I apologize for the delay in restoring your service. My technicians are hard at work finding the cause of the outage so we can get {{service_or_software_name}} back up and running for your immediate use. Your patience is greatly appreciated during this time.



Email Template #6 - Shipping Delay

Hello {{first_name}},

We apologize for the delay. There were technical difficulties on our end which pushed back yours as well as several other orders. Those difficulties are now resolved. Your shipment will arrive in 14-21 days.



Email Template #7 - Short Staffed

Hello {{first_name}}, We apologize for the delay. We are short staffed and experiencing a high volume of customer service requests. We will investigate the issue you brought up in your email and reply with our findings within 48 hours. Sincerely, {{company_team}}

Email Template #8 - Late Response

Hello {{first_name}},

We apologize for the delay. We were closed for the holidays on {{date}}. We will investigate the issue you brought up in your email and reply with our findings within 48 hours.



Email Template #9 - Service Outage

Hello {{first_name}}, We are currently updating our system which is resulting in an outage for many of our customers. We expect all customers to be able to use the software by {{date}}. We apologize for the delay. Sincerely, {{company_team}}

Email Template #10 - Shipping Delay

Hello {{first_name}},

As you know, the United States Postal Service is experiencing significant delays due to the holiday rush. It looks like your shipment will be delivered 3-5 business days later than the original delivery date. We apologize for the delay.



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Thank you for the prompt response We apologize for the inconvenience