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Business, Communication, Email Writing

3 Ways to Make Up for a Missed Deadline in Business Emails

In an ideal world, it would be possible to meet every deadline and get all work done on time.

However, reality doesn’t always pan out that way. Issues pop up, circumstances change, and what was previously expected becomes a thing of the past! If there’s a setback, customers, clients, and buyers need to be informed about the lack of progress.

Here are three approaches to let them know (via email) in a manner that minimizes their inconvenience:

Be direct & professional

When bearing bad news, one’s first instinct is to act emotionally and make excuses, but seldom does that help the situation. Instead, using a polite yet professional tone with details describing the delay ensures that all parties are on the same page.

They’ll appreciate the honesty!


Unfortunately, we are running behind schedule. The order is not quite ready yet, but your shipment will be on the way soon. Thank you for understanding.

Update the time frame

For projects and deliveries, sometimes it’s just a matter of updating the client on the target date. Needing an additional day or two shouldn’t be a big deal as long as you are upfront about it.

The earlier you can notify them, the more forgiving they will likely be.

Example: I am writing to inform you that the work is going to take slightly longer than anticipated. If you can stay patient for ‘X’ more hours/days, everything will be ready to go.

Give something extra

This one goes for buyers especially. If you expect that they will get upset, try to offer a small gift as a respectful token in exchange for more time.

Some options to consider are discount codes, limited-time offers, and special pricing. Now that’s good customer service!

Example: Please accept my apologies for the lengthy wait. Also, feel free to use coupon code ‘XYZ’ for 15% off your next purchase.

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