Delays cause disruption, but ignoring them can damage relationships.
So as soon as you're aware of a delay that affects a client, customer, or colleague, you must advise them as quickly as possible. That's the first (and most important) lesson on how to write effective delay emails.
Timing is critical, but you must also strike the right tone and use the correct format.
Don't worry; in this guide on advising of a delay, we will show you how. We provide 10 essential tips for writing effective delay emails and illustrate them with 8 examples.
How to write an email to explain a delay
When you become aware of a delay, take ownership of the problem – it's what your customers expect and deserve.
Remember that even if the delay isn't your fault, it's your job to solve the problem and sort out the mess.
Here are 10 tips for writing effective emails to explain a delay:
- Start by explaining there's a delay. Your customers and clients will respect you if you provide a clear explanation of what has caused the delay.
- Apologize for the delay and any inconvenience the delay may cause.
- Take ownership of the situation. Customers don't like it when you blame others, so explain the problem and reassure them that you're managing this.
- Be transparent about problems. If you've made a mistake, then admit it. This demonstrates empathy and understanding.
- Set out timelines for solutions and ensure you can stick to them. A first delay is understandable, but subsequent setbacks can damage your reputation. Be sure to send regular timeline updates, especially if things change.
- If you can't solve the problem (or supply a product or service), suggest alternative solutions – even if that means pushing customers to competitors.
- Promise this won't happen again (and ensure it doesn't!)
- Consider offering compensation such as a future discount, if your delay impacts your customer's business.
- When writing, use clear subject lines and set a professional tone of voice. Always address the person professionally, and stay formal and don’t get too friendly.
- Be prepared for your email to be shared and the details to be pored over.
Following this essential advice should help you create professional and personal emails that protect your relationship.
8 delay email examples
We're all about showing, not telling, so here we provide 8 example emails to put these principles into practice. It's about being proactive in your communication and providing transparent information. In each example, we provide an explanation of the cause of the delay and its expected duration.
These examples are a great way to bring concepts to life, but you should always edit and adapt them to describe your situation and solution.
1. Expect a delay email sample
Sometimes you'll be able to give customers an early warning of a delay in communication or the delivery of a product or service.
Advanced notice enables the person to put plans in place, so send this email about an expected delay as soon as possible.
2. Email apologizing for a delay sample
If the delay is going to have an impact on the customer, you should always offer a sincere apology. A core part is taking responsibility for the delay and committing to finding a resolution.
You may also want to provide compensation for any inconvenience caused.
3. Delay in the hiring process email template
Sometimes the recruitment timeline can become stretched, mainly when you're dealing with sending feedback to a large number of applicants.
An email explaining a delay in the recruitment process provides an essential update and clarity on the next steps. In this example, we provide an updated schedule for interviews.
4. Shipment delay email to customer sample
It can be frustrating to hear of a shipment delay, but keeping customers up-to-date with product delivery status is a core part of your job. Whatever the cause of the delays, it's essential to provide a revised delivery date and update the logistics information.
We've even added space for a discount code as compensation for any inconvenience.
5. Apologies for the delay in payment email sample
Payment delays are a big problem; you must always explain why immediately. In this example, we describe the reason for the payment delay and give an updated payment schedule.
Payment holdups can disrupt operations and impact relationships, so it's vital to commit to settling your debts in the future and suggest a solution to avoid future delays.
6. Sample email to manager for a delay in a project
For many of us, project delays are a part of business – but that excuse won't work with your boss!
In this email explaining the reasons for a project delay, we identify the roadblocks and barriers and provide a revised project timeline for completion. We love bullet points, so we've used them to detail our action plan to meet deadlines!
7. Delay in delivery email template
Several reasons can cause delivery delays – but there's one solution: an email explaining why. The person will know that the item (or items) are delayed, but you should aim to provide a delivery status update, including a revised delivery date.
While it's not a good look to start blaming others, it can help to give a short explanation of the cause of any delay – as we have done here!
8. Apology email to a client for a delay in service
If you can't deliver a service at the agreed date and time, you should provide a status update as soon as possible. Use this client delay email sample to do it.
We start with an acknowledgement of the delay and by offering a sincere apology. Then, commit to delivering a timely resolution and provide a timeline. It's about keeping the client as happy as possible despite delays.
Apologize for a delay email template
If your delay doesn't fit into any of these categories, or you want to adapt the format for your circumstances, then use this apology for a delay email template.
You can cut and paste this template and fill out the gaps to ensure you're creating professional emails with a personal touch.
Delay email template with Flowrite
Writing delay emails can sometimes be tough. We naturally don't want to
If you're having trouble writing the right words in a delay email, try Flowrite.
Our email assistant can complete your instructions into ready-to-send emails, with perfect grammar and professional format.
It's helpful in those situations when you don't know how to best put your thoughts into words.
We all know that delays can happen, and is most situations this will not be a problem. It's, however, problematic if you delay taking appropriate action and don't promptly update relevant people of the delay.
Keep your customers, clients, and colleagues informed and up-to-date with solutions, and you'll keep them on your side. Sketch out the timeline and always provide a solution!
Get all that right, and you'll protect your relationships and, in some cases, can even strengthen them.
Supercharge your communication with Flowrite
Write emails and messages faster across Google Chrome.
Share this article