Your Written Response to Customer Complaints Must Do These 3 Things


Your interactions with customers who have experienced a problem need to be structured in such a way that you restore the customer’s confidence in your company, and you regain their goodwill.

You can do this in just three steps, whether you’re talking to your customer over email, chat, text or social media.

1. Acknowledge Concern

The first thing you have to do, to restore confidence, is acknowledge customer concern in the first sentence of your interaction. In the first sentence of a letter, an airline said to customers, “We are sorry and embarrassed. But, most of all, we are deeply sorry.”

Nik Software wrote to me, “Thank you for your email. I’m sorry you are experiencing problems with your software product keys.”

Open your response to any email, chat, text or social media post by saying something that acknowledges what the customer is experiencing. When you do, you’ll delight the customer with your concern and personal approach.

2. Apologize

When your reply is in response to a problem, you need to apologize. Your apology can be in the opening paragraph, or somewhere in the body.

Apologizing helps you create rapport and rebuild trust after a problem has happened. You should apologize whether the problem is your company’s fault, the customer’s fault or an act of nature. You can apologize without placing blame, like this:

“I’m sorry for any misunderstanding you may have experienced.”

“I’m sorry for any inconvenience you may have experienced.”

3. Explain

Explaining to a customer what might have caused the problem helps you re-establish trust and regain customer goodwill. Explaining can be as simple as saying, “Thanks for taking the time to let us know about this. Here’s what we think may have happened…”

Here’s how an airline explained how a problem happened in a letter to customers:

“The storm disrupted the movement of aircraft, and, more importantly, interrupted the flow of pilot and in-flight crew members who were depending on those planes to get them to the airports where they were scheduled to serve you.”

When you explain what you think caused the problem, you position your company to restore the customer’s trust in your brand, and you are perceived as far more sincere.

When you’re responding to an issue in writing, make sure you acknowledge your customer’s concern, apologize, and that you try to explain why the problem happened. Doing these things helps you write texts, chats, social media posts and emails that regain customer goodwill.

Here’s a three-minute video explaining the 3 things your written reply to customers must include. You can use this video in your training with employees to make sure everyone is positioned to restore customer confidence after problem situations.

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