Want to Write Amazing Complaint Response Emails? Here are 4 Keys to Doing Just That.

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Story highlights:

Empathy, Casual Language, and Personal Pronouns are the secret to amazing complaint response emails

Have you heard of Blue Apron? It’s a grocery delivery service, basically. You get recipes and perfectly proportioned ingredients sent to you, and all you have to do is whip up gourmet meals in your kitchen. I use services like this literally every week. I just don’t have time to grocery shop with my busy kids and my travel schedule.

Well, the first time I tried Blue Apron, my food box came with a little problem. My bag of lentils had a small hole in it, and the lentils spilled.

I emailed Blue Apron that morning, and two hours later this is the response I got:

Thanks for reaching out about this issue, Myra.

I’m so disappointed to hear that your lentils spilled during transit. I hate to think that you won’t be able to fully enjoy your meals, and had this mess to clean.

I’ve sent your feedback over to my Quality team -and this feedback will help us ensure that this won’t happen in the future.

I wish I could help clean this up myself, however, as an apology, I’ve applied a credit for $19.98 toward a future order. To see this credit reflected on your account, you can click on the calendar date for your upcoming order in the “Delivery Schedule” section of the “My Account” page on our website.

I know this isn’t the same as receiving a perfect shipment in the first place. However, I hope it can still give us the chance to show you a better experience.

Thanks for cooking with us, 

Tori 

Blue Apron Customer Experience Team


This email is perfect. Tori’s reply to me was warm and personal, conveyed empathy for the problem of spilled lentils and resolved my issue in a single email.

Let’s look at exactly what made Tori’s email perfect.

Tori wrote in a casual, conversational tone, just like she would if she was speaking to me face-to-face.

The email opens with: “Thanks for reaching out about this issue, Myra.” It’s short, friendly and written in a natural language like a real person speaking.

Now, contrast Tori’s short, generous opening sentence with this opening I received from a company email this week:

I would like to apologize for the inconvenience with your order. There seems to have been an error, where the order was generated in the system, just not physically. I have successfully refunded the charge to you. Please allow 3-5 business day for your refund of $59, to reflect back into your account. I hope this helps. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at any time.

Yep, all of that was in the opening paragraph. It doesn’t sound natural to me, not like a real person talking. It reads like sentences were copied and pasted into the email.

Key Number 1: Write in a casual, conversational tone in your emails, just as if you were speaking to your customer face to face.When you do, you come across as genuine and relatable.

 

Tori conveys real empathy in her words.

This is empathy if ever I saw empathy. “I’m so disappointed to hear that your lentils spilled during transit. I hate to think that you won’t be able to fully enjoy your meals, and had this mess to clean.”

I can just picture Tori’s face and body language as she says this to me. I felt like I was talking to her face-to-face, rather than reading her email on my iPhone. I picked up sincere concern and regret in her words.

Key number 2: Convey empathy in your emails. Empathy helps you establish rapport and can result in a positive emotional reaction in your customers. 

 

Tori used lots of personal pronouns.

Personal pronouns – I, we, you – instantly make written communication sound more warm and personal. Tori said things like, “I hate to think that you won’t be able to fully enjoy your meals.” And “I’ve sent your feedback over to my Quality team.”

I feel so strongly about the use of personal pronouns in email and chat, that I recorded a short video about it. Click play to learn more about the use of personal pronouns in emails.

Key number 3: Use lots of personal pronouns in your emails. When you do, you instantly personalize your emails, and you remove any hint that your reply is a series of copied and pasted sentences. 

Tori came back to empathy again.

In the poor email example from above, the person said:

“I have successfully refunded the charge to you. Please allow 3-5 business day {typo is from the company’s original email} for your refund of $59, to reflect back into your account. I hope this helps.”

This is so matter-of-fact, so a copied and pasted paragraph. But look how Tori resolved my issue and expressed empathy:

“I wish I could help clean this up myself, however, as an apology, I’ve applied a credit for $19.98 toward a future order.”

Key number 4: Convey empathy in problem situations two or more times when you respond to a problem. When you do, you continue to resonate with your customer, and you’ll almost certainly regain customer goodwill.

 

In my email eLearning course, I share with your employees what made the Blue Apron email great, and I walk them through the 3 Elements of a Great Email Experience. I talk about how to strategically use personal pronouns, just like Tori did, and I cover tips for how to make emails personable and friendly.

Are you 100% confident your employees are representing your brand in email as well as Tori serves Blue Apron?

If not, your employees need to be sitting in front of their computers participating in my Before You Hit Send email module, which is part of my customer service eLearning suite.

Before your employees hit send on one more email to a customer, make sure they take my email training.

 

 

Published by

myragolden

Myra Golden is an author, trainer and keynote speaker who has been helping companies for over twenty years to improve the customer experience through her customer service training workshops. Myra has a master’s degree in human relations and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, helping her to understand the challenges of developing the best customer experience as it relates to the psychology of the employees. Myra has helped Verizon Business, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Michelin Tires, Frito-Lay, Vera Bradley and many others improve the customer experience through her training. She was named one of the Top 10 Customer Service Bloggers by Huffington Post and she is the co-author of Beyond WOW!

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