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Complaint about poor customer service

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Complaint about poor customer service
September 28, 2019 Wedding Anniversary Wishes 2 comments

Sample Complaint Letter for Bad Service. Dear Mr. Hamilton I have been a loyal customer of your stores for the past 5 years, I have time and again received.

Customer service is arguably the most important thing for your business to get right.

Great customer service can overcome poor marketing, but it's incredibly difficult (and expensive) to replace poor customer service with even the most exceptional, "delightful" marketing.

Inbound marketing is customer-focused and inherently aids customer service, but that doesn't mean companies who use it can't still be guilty of bad service experiences. 

Top Side Effects of Bad Customer Service

  1. A Damaged Reputation
  2. Leads Don't Convert
  3. Your Customer Lifetime Value Drops
  4. You Lose Your Best Employees
  5. You Enter a Profit-Sucking Cycle

Of course, "good customer service" is often up for interpretation.

It's only normal for small mistakes to happen or to encounter customers that are impossible to deal with. These are generally small bumps in the road and don't constitute bad customer service.

These situations, however, are usually considered universally unacceptable:

  • Long wait times and response times
  • Poor attention to detail
  • Company reps with lack of experience and knowledge
  • Unprofessional and impersonal interactions 

Companies who are guilty of these bad customer service traits often face negative consequences -- many of which are difficult to overcome and can lead to the company's failure.

The good news is that even the worst customer service habits can be corrected without detrimental damage to your brand, assuming you take action quickly.

In this article, we are doing to discuss 5 dangerous side effects of bad customer service and what you can do to reverse those damaging effects.

1. A Damaged Reputation

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently." --Warren Buffett

Your brand's reputation is incredibly valuable and not something you want to lose control of. However, especially with the internet, your reputation is the first thing to take a hit when you have an extended streak of bad customer service.

Customers today are quick to write negative reviews online when they have a bad experience with a company. In addition to leaving critical reviews, customers also vent their frustrations on social media for their friends, family, colleagues, and the entire world to see.

In a recent study, 95% of respondents said they usually tell at least one other person about a bad customer experiences with a company, while 54% said they share it with at least 5 other people. 

Just in case you think people aren't reading reviews or searching for discussions about brands on social media, that same study found 88% of respondents have been influenced by an online review when making a buying decision.

What this adds up to is a decrease in overall sales, but more importantly, a major decrease in word of mouth marketing -- arguably the most valuable marketing outlet a brand can have. 

How to Repair the Damage

Have a key figure in your company reach out to those who have received bad customer service to make amends.

Responding publicly to negative reviews, accepting responsibility for the wrongdoing, and informing people that you're making strides to permanently solve the issues can do wonders for negative perspectives people may have of your brand. 

Always, however, make it a point to move this conversation to a private discussion. Don't go back and forth publicly (nothing worse than a Twitter war), because you risk doing more damage than good.

After you've reached out to the consumer, based on the negative feedback, address the problems internally. Set a higher standard for customer service and make it a top priority until it's become a permanent fixture in your operations.

With this advice, you'll not only be able to improve your reputation in the future, but possibly even win back a few customers who had poor experiences. 

2. Leads Don't Convert

Bad customer service kills conversions.

Although the term customer service implies current customers, all interactions with prospects, leads, and anyone else can fall into this realm.

How many times have you reached out to a business and never heard back? How frustrated were you? 

Now, imagine what your leads are thinking when they request a consultation and never hear back, when they have to wait on hold forever, or when sales reps are slow to respond.

"If this is the service I get when they're trying to take my money, how are they going to treat me once they have it?"

Customer service departments already have a negative stigma associated with them as a whole, so why not surprise people with a positive experience?

Great customer service upfront leaves an awesome first impression and gets leads excited about doing business with your company.

How to Repair the Damage

If your team doesn't already use a CRM, start using one immediately.

A good CRM can help sales reps respond to leads quickly, with all of the information they need at their disposal, and helps you keep track of every engagement that person has had with your company, in order to better serve them. (Note: HubSpot has an awesome free CRM that's easy to setup, learn, and use.)

Also, make sure to use a "Smarketing" strategy that aligns marketing and sales goals. Having this makes it easier for sales reps to deliver the best customer service, while also using marketing to deliver more value to leads before they interact with sales reps.

3. Your Customer Lifetime Value Drops

By now you're aware that acquiring new customers is usually more expensive than keeping your current customers. That is one of the primary reasons delivering great customer service is so important. 

Did you know 9 out of 10 customers say they're willing to pay more to ensure a good customer experience and as much as 70% will continue to do business with you if you resolve a complaint?  

While bad customer service can destroy your average customer lifetime value, putting more strain on your marketing budget to attract more customers, good customer service can actually save these relationships. 

How to Repair the Damage

Develop a customer retention strategy that builds brand loyalty.

Inbound marketing can be used effectively to retain customers by providing:

  • Webinars
  • How-to videos and articles
  • FAQ pages
  • Special/exclusive deals
  • Newsletters

Marketers often get caught up in focusing solely on customer acquisition, when customer retention generally has a higher ROI.

4. You Lose Your Best Employees

Bad customer service has negative side effects in all areas of business. Not only do you lose customers, but you run the risk of losing your best employees.

When your companies has a customer service problem, your best employees are forced to pick up the slack for bad employees. This leads to burnout and dissatisfaction from the people you rely on most.

If your company develops a bad reputation, your top performers may also jump ship when they realize things are going south. 

How to Repair the Damage

Reward your best employees and don't keep bad employees around. Great customer service starts with a great company culture. 

Average employees will perform to the level that's considered "normal" in your company culture. When bad customer service is normal, they don't feel incentivized to improve. However, a company culture where quick, friendly, and professional customer service is expected sets the bar higher for average employees.

The positive side effect of a great company culture is that it attracts better employees and gives them a reason to stick around, which ultimately improves all areas of business, including customer service.

5. You Enter a Profit-Sucking Cycle

Bad customer service can also create a downward spiral for profits.

First, your reputation gets damaged and you start losing new sales, (especially from referrals), then even your loyal customers start to leave.

At this point, you're forced to decide, do you cut costs and try to ride it out or do you double down on marketing to attract new customers?

If you cut costs to make up for the lack of revenue, you still have to improve your customer service through training or recruitment, which requires more resources.

On the other hand, trying to outspend your poor customer service in marketing might attract new customers, but the problem only gets worse with scale.

How to Repair the Damage

Address problems with customer service early and often.

Regularly survey customers, chat with them when you can, and monitor customer service KPIs. 

The best way to solve bad customer service is to prevent it, but the second best way is to get it corrected before it gets out of hand. 

This complaint letter recites a story about bad customer service and suggests a reasonable outcome. Free to download and print.

An Example Complaint Letter

complaint about poor customer service

Dear _______________,

On June 1, 2013, I called your customer service hotline because the washing machine I purchased from your store was making a loud banging noise during the rinse cycle and was not cleaning the clothes properly. Many of the clothing articles retained the same dirt or grime they went in with.

When I called the service line, I was immediately met with rudeness and aggression. The woman who took the call was named Pat and was hostile and unreceptive to my plight. She told me that I was clearly packing the washing machine too full and that it was causing both the banging and the inconsistent cleanliness.

I patiently explained that I had not overfilled the machine and that the problem was persistent. She dismissed me and told me I was just being argumentative in order to get a replacement.

I was humiliated and incredibly angered by this behavior. Someone with such poor people skills and a lack of common courtesy should not work in customer service. I would like this issue to be addressed immediately. I would also like a written apology and the opportunity to speak to someone else about the defective product.

Thank you for your consideration.


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Bad Customer Service Complaint Letter

complaint about poor customer service

In our last post, we offered up 10 tips for handling angry customer calls this holiday season. Hard as it may be to calm and satisfy an angry customer over the phone, it’s much harder to do so by email.

Without the benefit of real-time give and take, agents who respond to angry emails are at a disadvantage. They can’t get a feel for the customer, use tone of voice to bring the temperature down, or steer the conversation.

If an email isn’t worded quite right, it can easily be misconstrued as cold, indifferent, or rude—and deal a fatal blow to the customer relationship.

When responding to angry emails, your agents will need to walk a very fine line.

  • They’ll need to respond quickly, but in a way that projects warmth, concern, and a take-charge attitude.
  • They’ll need to be succinct, while conveying their commitment to righting the wrong and explaining how the problem will be solved.

Here are five of the most common customer complaints your customer service agents will receive during the holiday season, along with some sample email responses to customer complaints that reflect the best practices of leading brands. All of these email templates can be copied and edited to help your team on how to respond to customer complaints.

1. The Order Didn’t Arrive on Time

Customers who put their faith in promised delivery dates assume brands are prepared for the holiday rush. If an order isn’t fulfilled in a timely way, it can spark a very angry response.

The agent’s first order of business: track the customer’s package. If it’s marked as delivered, ask the customer to confirm the address. If the package is still in transit, try something like this.

“Dear [First name],

I’m so sorry your order hasn’t arrived. I know how frustrating this must be. We certainly didn’t intend to add to your holiday stress.

I’ve tracked the package via [carrier], and it’s currently listed as “[status].” If you’d like to check on its progress, here’s the link you can use: [link]

Please contact me directly if your order hasn’t arrived within [time frame]. In the meantime, I will do everything I can to locate your package.

Once again, [First name], I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.


[Agent first name]

[Email/direct phone]

2. The Customer Received the Wrong Item(s)

Opening an eagerly awaited package and finding the wrong item inside is irritating, to say the least. It also creates more work for the customer. A great email response to these customer complaints addresses both pain points.

“Dear [First name],

I’m so sorry we mixed up your order. I know a mistake like this can be very upsetting, especially at this time of year.

I’ve double checked your original order, and the correct items should arrive tomorrow via [carrier] (tracking number [#]). If you’d like to track the package, here’s the link you can use: [link].

I’ll follow up with you tomorrow to make sure you received the correct items. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to contact me directly.

We do have one small favor to ask. Could you please return the unwanted items within the next [#] days? There should be an adhesive prepaid return label inside the box. If not, just click this link, print the form, and attach it to the box. You can drop the box off at any [carrier] location (click here to find the one nearest you).

Once again, [First name], I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.


[Agent first name]

[Email/direct phone]

3. The Customer Had a Bad Experience in Store

A rude or unhelpful associate, merchandise in complete disarray, endless checkout lines—a lot can go wrong in store at this time of year. If a customer emails a complaint, the agent’s response should include specific remedies, both at a high level and for the aggrieved customer. Here’s an example of a way to respond to an angry customer who had a bad experience.

“Dear [First name],

I’m sorry you had such an unpleasant encounter with one of our associates earlier today. We try to make our customers’ shopping experience easy and enjoyable, and we hold our stores to a very high standard. In this case, we clearly fell short.

I’ve forwarded your complaint to the [location] store management team as well as our corporate customer experience team. We will do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

We’d also like to make it up to you by offering a [#]% discount on your next purchase in store or online. Here’s a link to the coupon code, which you can print for in-store use: [link].

Once again, [First name], I apologize for our failure to serve you well. Thanks so much for letting us know. Your feedback is valuable to us.


[Agent first name]

[Email/direct phone]

4. The Customer Is Getting Conflicting Answers

The website, store staff, and/or support reps aren’t on the same page, so the customer feels confused, frustrated—even misled. The agent’s job is to provide concrete information about policies, pricing, and/or product availability straight from the source and make clear the issue is being taken seriously. Here is a customer service email response sample for a customer who is getting conflicting answers.

“Dear [First name],

I’m so sorry for the confusion and frustration this has caused. As much as we rely on technology and training to provide customers with consistent, up-to-date information, we deeply regret when breakdowns like this occur.

Here is the section of our return policy that addresses your original question about electronic product returns.

[Screen capture]

You can find our complete return policy here: [link]. Please feel free to reply to this email or call my direct line with any additional questions you might have.

Also, I’ve made our corporate customer experience team aware of this issue so they can address any underlying problems and ensure our customers always have the right information.

Once again, [First name], I apologize for our failure to serve you well. Thanks so much for letting us know. Your feedback is valuable to us.


[Agent first name]

[Email/direct phone]

5. There Was No Response to the Customer’s Previous Email

Heavy email volumes can wreak havoc on response times. But that doesn’t mean much to customers who need help or answers fast. What would have been a fairly simple resolution is now a customer service failure. Empathy is so important here, as is a shared sense of urgency. Here is a sample response to customer complaints when there was no response to the previous email.

“Dear [First name],

I’m so sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I understand your frustration. Your email needed and deserved a timely response.

As you requested, I’ve updated your payment settings and alerted our website team to the problem you’re having with your account management page. Please contact me directly if you experience any further problems on the site.

For inconveniencing you not once, but twice, we’d like to offer you a [#]% discount on your next purchase in store or online. Here’s a link to the coupon code, which you can print for in-store use: [link].

Once again, [First name], I apologize for the inconvenience. We will continue to do everything we can to speed up and improve our customer service delivery.


[Agent first name]

[Email/direct phone]

Key to a Well-Received Email Response: Make It All About the Customer

No matter what your customers are angry about, your agents can bring positive closure if they observe some basic rules in their email responses.

  • Take responsibility – Make sure the customer knows you understand the issue and where the brand failed.
  • Acknowledge the customer’s feelings – Showing empathy helps to establish a connection and humanize the brand.
  • Be the brand hero – Tell the customer in positive, specific terms what you’ve already done or what you intend to do. Answer questions directly and include helpful resources. Let the customer know you’re there for them if needed. When appropriate, offer the customer something of value.
  • Close thoughtfully – Remind customers they are valued by the brand.

How formal or informal should your email responses be? That depends on your brand’s personality and customer base as well as the nature and tone of the complaint. Just keep in mind that attempts to be clever could seem flippant to an angry customer. In most cases, you’ll want to play it straight.

Truly great customer service transcends any one channel. It’s an organizational mindset that guides every employee from the C-suite executive to the contact center agent. In our next post, we share some inspiring examples of companies going above and beyond to delight their dissatisfied customers.

Want to see how Stella Connect helps CX leaders monitor happy and angry customer feedback? Try a sample survey.

Start by contacting the company against which you have a complaint. Ask to talk to a manager to report bad customer service you have received from an.

80 Customer Service Statistics: 8 Lessons to Fuel Growth in 2019 and Beyond

complaint about poor customer service

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      Start by contacting the company against which you have a complaint. Ask to talk to a manager to report bad customer service you have received from an.

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