Complaint letters are not unusual for businesses, especially those in the service sector. If you have a business, then be prepared to receive the letters sooner or later. Answering these letters are part of a business’ customer service. Keeping customers satisfied and happy is important if you want to keep them coming back and stay loyal to you. And part of that is addressing their concerns, more often than not via complaint letters.
These letters formalize their dissatisfaction with your company. So the way you answer them would really matter. You wouldn’t want to use the wrong words and anger them more. This is how the letters should be answered.
7 Tips to the ideal answer to complaint letters
1) Goal to answer complaint letters
Start with the end in mind. What would you want those who sent the letters to feel after reading your letter of reply? Is it to address a certain product order? Is it about handling the way a customer was treated? Thinking of your goal will help you setup the letter correctly and also use the right words, the right tone, and the right manner of speaking. Imagine if it is a thank you letter, then the tone would be so much different. That is why you have to put the end in mind before you even start to pick up that pen and paper.
2) Set your goals
You should begin your reply your complaint letters by specifically spelling out your goals. Start the later with a quick summary of what you are writing for — is it a response to an inquiry, or a resolution to an issue they have sent. This will help not confuse the receiver on why they are getting a letter from you, and to help set the frame of mind so that they will be receptive to your message.
3) What’s in it for me?
It is but natural for people to ask what is in it for them. You would not want to waste a few minutes of their precious time reading your letter and then leave them asking ‘so what’ in the end. Your goal for the reply to the complaint letters should leave your readers satisfied or resolved by the end. Is it just a matter of defending your business’ side or a heartfelt apology? Perhaps you can also give away a discount or a voucher for their next purchase in lieu of the trouble the issue has caused them.
4) Refrain from using the word ‘I’
The word ‘I’ is sort of a very selfish word, and using it in reply to complaint letters might just aggravate the situation, thinking that you are just thinking for yourself and the company instead of the readers’ or customers’ benefit. Remember, the customer is always right. Upon reviewing the answer to the complaint letters that you wrote, check for ‘I’s and if possible, change them to ‘you’s’. This way, your customers will feel more appreciated.
5) Walk the walk, talk the talk
Replies should still be engaging and not boring. Your answers to the complaint letters should not be too formal as if it was machine generated. You should write as you speak, the way you deal with customers in real life. It will give it more character and more soul. Review your letter as you finish it and check back if you can recognize that it was you who really wrote the letter.
6) Call to action
Of course you would not want the letter to just fall into a trash. A good letter must trigger a call to action. Don’t forget to end the letter with a request for the reader to do something – is it to give you a call so you can discuss the matter more deeply? Is it for them to visit your store and use the promo voucher? Having a call to action is a great ending to your letter reply to complaint letters.
7) Ask someone to proofread
Since you were the one who actually wrote the letter, you might be missing on some things or not noticing a few mistakes. It is best if you ask someone to review the letter before sending it out. Check for spelling and grammar, and of course the whole thought of the letter and if the message cuts across the reader.
Just follow these simple tips on how to reply to complaint letters and hopefully you’ll get less and less of them in the end!