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Messed Up A Customer’s Order? Here’s How To Handle It

Messed Up A Customer's Order? Here's How To Handle It

“To err is human” so they say and as a human being, you are always at a risk of making mistakes either in real life or business. Once you have messed up an order, don’t make the situation worse by being defensive. Whether you make a major or minor mistake, it is important that you admit it and take responsibility for it.

Mistakes happen. If you mess up your client’s order, there is a chance they might leave you. However, being honest might open up a chance to rectify the situation. You can then build trust and reputation which can help keep your customers.

Methods To Make It Up To Your Customer


If you mess up your client’s order, do not plan the apology for another more convenient moment. And when you say it, do not mumble it under your breath, no. Apologize and mean it.

When you realise that a mistake has occurred, make sure the first thing that comes out of your mouth is an outright, “I am sorry”. When an apology is the first thing that comes out of your mouth, it helps your situation.

If you are apologising to your customer via email or letter, ensure that your apology comes first. Also, end your letter or email with another full apology. For instance, you can sign off your letter or email with a statement like, “Once again, I apologise for any inconveniences caused.”


The next thing that you should do after your apology is to give a full explanation of what exactly happened.

Explain in detail the mistake that you made. Tell your client whether it was a system error or if it was a mistake made by you or your staff. Whatever caused the mess, this is your chance to make things right. As the business owner, it falls to you to assume responsibility for everyone in your company, including the system that you are using.

You have to give a detailed explanation. It might be lengthy but it will help your client understand what went wrong if they have all the details. Be careful not to include unnecessary internal drama your company might be having.


After making a mistake, you can build your customer’s confidence in you if you are transparent to them.

An example would be if your client placed an order and you are not able to deliver it within the agreed time frame. Ensure that you contact your client and let him know the situation in advance.

Updating your customer with what you are doing to solve the problem can help keep your customers. It will also show that even after making a mistake, you still have their interest at heart.

Take Responsibility

The next thing to do to make it up to your customer and accept responsibility.

Even if one of your employees caused the error or it was a system error, you as a business owner should take the responsibility. You may not be directly to blame for the mistake that occurred but you are responsible for your business. All your staff and systems included and you need to try to make it right.

Empathise With Your Customer

If you mess up your customer’s order, chances are that your client is most likely frustrated. They might also be hurt, angry and they might be regretting ever placing an order from your company.

Put yourself in your client’s shoes and reflect. Let your customer know that you understand their feelings. Though you can never know exactly what your customer is feeling, you should try to empathise with them.

Try to work out a win-win solution where you can extend a hand of goodwill to help the customer tide over whatever inconveniences your mistakes have caused.

Reassure Your Customer That It Will Not Happen Again

After everything has been said and done, you need to reassure your client that you have the situation under your control. Explain to your customer the measures you have put in place to ensure that such a mistake will not occur again.

You also have to assure your customer that you have learned from the experience. You should be careful not to put your business in a negative light which can turn your clients away. Explain everything with a lot of positivity.

Let your customer know that a single mistake is not the end of your business relationship. You are not letting this experience take you down but rather you are taking it as an opportunity to provide a better service in the future.

Once you have messed your customer’s order, a simple “I am sorry” will not right the wrong. A thorough apology with a right tone and attitude will go a long way in reassuring your customer that the mistake was not intentional. It is likely to help restore your business relationship with your client.

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Editorial Staff

8 thoughts on “Messed Up A Customer’s Order? Here’s How To Handle It

  1. All that is nice but none of that is good enough to keep their business. You better offer a big discount if you want to keep them around.

    1. I disagree that you need to offer a discount for them “to keep around”. If all of the above tips are performed a customer will stick around, they will understand that we are all human and errors can happen. You only need to offer discounts if you are unable to provide great customer service.

      1. I agree with both of you actually. Discounts have their place as a customer service tool but aren’t required to get the job done to keep them around.

      2. Dude when I screw up paying a bill I’m charged a extra fee, if I over draft it’s a fee, if your broke and need a payment plan it’s a extra fee. Sorry but when a company, especially big company or heart corporation makes a mistake I dan. Sure want a big discount or make them pay some sort of fee for inconveniencing me, wasting my time, or providing false info. I never blame the poor pawn that has to deal with C.C. but I sure as hell blame the “system” cause they write the playbook so when its thier turn to F****** up you better believe I want them to pay up. Because my time is money and I’m wasting it on thier 1800 number or sending emails back on front.

  2. Can you help me, how to respond to the customer who make wrong order and the order already completed. We sent the items and billed them. But they said “Please let me know what I can do to assist in correcting this.” when things cannot be undone. Help me.. I need to response them politely. Thank you

    1. Hi Fad, if you’ve already shipped the items then its common for the customer to wear the cost of returning the items to you. Only big companies like amazon are able to eat the cost of transporting a refunded item back, especially on larger orders.

      If you don’t have a refund policy, now is a good time to sort one out.

  3. I preserve wedding bouquets in resin. I am very new to this and my customers know that. There is an imperfection in one piece and I want to of course apologize and explain what happened, and also offer them another piece at no cost to them. Please help!

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