Last week, we showed you how to write letters of complaint to We hope that every customer who visits our store will be offered quality service.
Keeping customers happy is critical to the success of any business. Prompt response to complaints can help you retain customers who are dissatisfied with the service they received from your company. A well-written response letter follows a basic format and is an important tool in your company's complaint resolution process.
Begin the letter by thanking the customer for telling you about the problem. It’s important to start the letter on a positive note, since you know that the customer is already unhappy with your company. Mention that you value his business and strive to ensure that customers have a good experience with your company. Briefly summarize the complaint, including any dates, if applicable. Ask the customer to contact you if your summary doesn’t accurately describe his issue. Include any questions you might have about the customer’s experience.
Let the customer know that you understand why he was upset or unhappy. If your company was wrong, apologize for the error or situation. Even if your company was right, it’s best not to antagonize the customer by blaming the situation on him. The Intuit website suggests that you tell the customer that you understand that you didn’t fulfill his expectations if you feel that the complaint was unwarranted. The point of this paragraph is to establish rapport with the client and make him feel that his opinion matters.
Let the customer know what you can do to resolve the situation. Explain in detail what you will do and when you will do it. In some cases, you might need additional information from him, such as documents or completed forms, before you can address the problem. Tell the customer exactly what information you need and when you need it. Avoid applying company policies too rigidly. You won’t be wrong if you refuse to fix an issue that occurred one day after a warranty expired, but you probably will lose a customer – and that customer will tell others of his experience with your company.
Finish the letter with your contact information should the customer want to discuss the matter further. Provide multiple ways in which the customer can reach you, such as an email address and your direct telephone line. Avoid providing a general company telephone number or one that requires the customer to wade through numerous prompts just to leave a message. If you make it difficult for the customer to reach you, he might become frustrated and feel that you are not serious about resolving his problem. Thank the customer again for contacting you and ask him to let you know if he has any additional problems.
Last week, we showed you how to write letters of complaint to We hope that every customer who visits our store will be offered quality service.
This popular article on how to write a good response to a client or customer complaint was updated in 2017 to provide instructional material to accompany the example from the original article.
Customer complaints are a daily reality for most businesses.
Your product or service might be top of the line. Your customer service may be best in class.
Doesn’t matter. You are still going to get complaints.
And that’s actually a good thing.
Today, we’re going to discuss why customer or client complaints can be a huge asset for you business and then show you how to harness those assets by crafting an ROI-boosting complaint response letter.
Customer retention is the top priority for any business wishing to achieve long-term success.
So if our goal is retention, why are complaints so valuable? In short, customer complaints are a gold mine of valuable data that help us understand our customer base and improve retention.
For every customer who complains, 26 others remain silent. In other words, complaints give us insight into potentially pervasive problems that are bothering a large segment of our customer base. When customers complain, they are actively teaching you how to improve your product.
Additionally, when you successfully resolve a customer complaint, their odds of doing business with you again actually increase compared to if they had never made a complaint in the first place.
The key phrase here is “successfully resolve”, and that’s what we’ll be covering in the next section.
When responding to a customer complaint, it’s important to do three specific things:
You may have noticed a theme here, and that theme is specificity.
Customers don’t want a vague non-response that insults their intelligence. If you are going to respond to a complaint, it’s important to be very specific.
First, actually address each portion of the customer’s complaint. If the complaint came via a brief or mid-sized message, respond to each point. If it was a lengthy rant, try to address the main (or rational) points.
Next, take ownership of anything your business messed up or could have done better. If you made a legitimate error, say sorry. If your customer was confused about something most people understand, apologize that the experience wasn’t more intuitive.
Most importantly, make it right. Resolve the issue. Fix the problem. And then tell the customer EXACTLY what you did to ensure that they are happy in the end.
Finally, tell your customer about how you will their experience with your business better in the future. In some cases, this might just be a fix on your end. In other cases, it might require the customer to better understand your product. Either way, tactfully propose a solution that ensures the customer’s next experience with your business is a positive one.
To better understand these points, let’s look at a real-life example from Andrew Neitlich.
I got quite frustrated with my experience with Yahoo!’s Overture advertising service yesterday when loading up terms for a new site. I don’t know if you agree with me, but I find Google’s advertising interface much, much, much easier to work with than Yahoo!’s.
So I filled in a customer feedback form and sent in my complaint to Yahoo! Mostly I did this to vent, as I didn’t expect a response from a huge company like Yahoo!. Most companies don’t respond anymore to individual online complaints.
Yet Yahoo! responded with a terrific, personalized letter. (Had I known I’d get a response, I would have provided much more detailed feedback). I print the response here, because it is an excellent example of how to respond online to a complaint. I still like using Google much more, but at least I’m not going to cancel my Yahoo! account and stop advertising (which is where I was at yesterday). Notice how they cover in detail my issues, apologize where appropriate, explain their service, and give advice about things I can do better.
Here is their response, printed here as a template you might use for your sites or even clients:
I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience these issues may have caused you. I have taken the liberty of resubmitting your listings that were incorrectly declined for Broken Site. According to my research, your listings that were declined for Blocked Site were also declined for Duplication of Results. This means that the keywords that you were attempting to add to your account, already existed in your account, and were seen as a duplicate of an existing listing. This means that the keywords you were hoping to add already exist in your account.
You are correct, after further review it was acknowledged that your site does not offer a product of service that Yahoo! does not to be affiliated with, and therefore the Blocked Site decline reason was an incorrect one. This decline reason did not affect the outcome of your submission.
The keywords that were declined for Insufficient Content, were declined correctly. You were attempting to bid on keywords like “business coach executive professional,” and “life and business coach,” but it is not clear if a user can actually find a business coach on your site, or if they will be referred to 3rd party for assistance with that request. If you were to offer more information on the “Locate an Executive Coach” section of your site, you could be approved for those keywords.
You may be interested to know that Yahoo! is developing a new advertiser interface that will offer business owners a more powerful advertising experience, and we plan to roll this interface out during the second half of this year.
I understand that there are several things in your account that you would like changed, and I would just like to let you know that we take advertiser feedback very seriously as we are always striving to improve our services. We welcome any additional feedback you may have.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any further assistance. Thank you for choosing Yahoo! Search Marketing!
Yahoo! Search Marketing
As Andrew mentioned, this is a superb example of a customer response letter from the Yahoo! Search Marketing team.
Yahoo! hit on each critical point in its response letter.
Use this same strategy to respond to your own customer complaints and improve customer retention.
Regardless of how well your restaurant is run, there may come a time when you encounter customer complaint letters about the quality of your food or the kind of service you provide. While it may feel like a personal attack, it’s important to take the emotion out of it and respond to the customer calmly so you provide courteous and professional service and salvage your customer relationship. Respond to your customer complaint letter right away to show your clientele that you value their opinions.
Timing is critical when dealing with complaint letters. If you receive a customer service complaint letter or foreign object in food complaint letter, it’s important to send your response to the customer right away so he knows you’re taking the matter seriously.
If you receive a negative review online on sites such as Google, Yelp or TripAdvisor, take the same approach and post your response as quickly as possible so your customer knows you’re paying attention to the issue. With public posts, this also shows other customers how professionally you deal with complaints.
Your first step in your restaurant complaint letter response should be to acknowledge the problem and apologizefor your mistake. As the old customer service adage goes, the customer is always right. Even if you feel your food quality or service wasn’t poor, it’s important to let the customer feel heard.
Apologize for her negative experience. For example, you could say, “I profusely apologize for the poor service you received at my coffee shop last Thursday. I am taking the matter seriously and will be discussing this issue with each employee in person.”
Avoid using your response letter as a way to get defensive about your restaurant. Don’t attack the customer for his choices or his experience. This is unprofessional and builds distrust and animosity. If you’re trying to keep a customer, this approach will not be successful.
For example, don’t say something like, “You shouldn’t have finished the sandwich if you didn’t like the first few bites. We would have made you a new one if you hadn’t eaten the whole meal.”
Do your best to investigate the situation. If the customer is complaining about her food, be sure to confirm exactly what she ordered by asking her and looking through receipts if possible. If the customer is complaining about service, check the schedule or time cards to make sure you know which employees were working at that time. It’s always best to have all the pertinent facts in case the issue is escalated into a legal one.
Offer a solution for the customer based on the complaint. This shows customers that you take their complaints seriously and want to preserve your relationship with them. When dealing with food poisoning complaints, rely on your food poisoning contingency plan and check your ingredients to ensure it won’t happen again. Offer your customer a free or discounted meal the next time he visits or refund his meal depending on his complaint.
I’m terribly sorry to hear you had a negative experience at our bistro on Wednesday and received an apple pie that didn’t meet your expectations. We strive to provide only the best-quality food to our valuable customers.
Your feedback is vital to our success, and we will be using this as a learning experience to improve our dessert menu. I’ve already spoken to our chefs about this, and we’ll be adjusting the recipe.
To make up for your negative experience, I’d like to offer you two free desserts the next time you visit. Please see the gift card enclosed. I hope we’ll see you again soon.
Owner, Jane’s Bistro
Today, we're going to share five customer service email templates from our amazing, and it needs to come through in every single email you write. When a customer asks for a discount, we'll respond with something like this: . A Real Example of How to Handle an Angry Customer Service Complaint on Social Media.
Did you know that 62% of all customer email requests are never answered at all?
Or for those that are answered, 27% of them are answered incorrectly?
Customer service has been around since the first transaction took place thousands of years ago.
And even then, if the customer was not happy with a purchase, he or she would complain.
Not much has changed since then.
In today’s Internet driven world, if a customer is not happy, then yes – they will complain.
Except, not to you.
Instead, they will complain to their friends and family on Facebook and other social networks, which means they could be reaching anywhere between hundreds to thousands of connections.
To keep them happy, you need to answer their requests and respond quickly.
So, wouldn’t it be great if you could answer more customer support tickets, faster?
That’s where we’re here to help you.
We’re sharing 7 customer service templates that you can use to answer more requests and quickly. Plus, you can copy and paste our customer service email response samples easily, meaning you can start using them right now.
Did you know that the number one reason customers leave a company is because they think you don’t care about them?
Brands like Amazon and Zappos have built billion dollar empires based on delivering superior customer service. And while 80% of brands feel are delivering great service, consumers tend to disagree. In fact, only 8% of consumers feel they have received superior customer service.
Delivering great customer service is not easy and we need all the help we can get.
Based on our research, here’s how customer service can affect your business:
Great customer service comes in the form of quickly acknowledging the customer’s email or request, addressing the customer by his or her name, focusing on solving the customer’s problem and generally making the customer feel like you care.
And the best thing about customer service is that you have complete control of the service you deliver to your customers.
Especially, when you use customer service email templates.
Whether your business uses a knowledge base, an online FAQ or each response is handled freehand, you will find that common trends in questions or issues emerge quickly. Using customer service templates can help any business become more efficient.
With SuperOffice Service, you can set up and store email templates. Whether it’s a thank you email for completing a form on your website to regular customer communication, each template can be personalized.
But the benefits in creating customer support templates are not only limited to saving time. Other advantages include personalized messaging, reduced errors and being able to maintain brand tone and voice.
Whether you’re looking for help desk email examples, business email templates or technical support email templates, our new white paper will rapidly improve the quality of support you deliver to your customers.
Here’s what you get when you download our brand-new guide:
Do you want the free guide?
You can download it here.
If a customer writes an email to you, it means they care enough to do something about it – Whether the email is reporting a bug on your website or requesting a new feature.
It’s important to make sure every single customer email is answered. Responding to customers is a sure-fire way to make unhappy customers happy and it helps to create good customer relationships.
Here’s 5 tips to responding to customer service emails.
Customers value good service over speed. It might be the customer got lost on your website or cannot remember his password but read the email thoroughly before you write your response. If the email has too little information for you to solve the request, it’s OK to ask questions to get more information.
Most emails sent to your customer support team are sent by human beings.
It’s easy to forget this when you answer hundreds or thousands of emails per week, but people appreciate being treated like human – In fact, recent research by Cisco found that customers are willing to pay extra for a more personalized service. Make sure you address the customer by his/her name in each email you respond to.
A customer who communicates a problem does not want to hear excuses of why the problem occurred. They only want to hear the solution. If the customer cannot login to his account because of a bug, there is no need to explain that it’s your web developer’s fault for forgetting to fix it – Find a solution and inform the customer the problem is fixed.
It’s much easier for both you and your customer if you provide links to relevant sources on your website rather than explaining how to navigate through the site.
For example. here’s a lengthy response:
“In order to login to your account, please go to our home page and at the top right of the page, click the “my account” link. Once you click the link, you will be taken to the login page.”
Compared to a much more user-friendly response:
“To login, please visit www.examplewebsite.com/login”
Staying anonymous in your responses is the wrong approach. If you use a generic email signature, the customer won’t know who he or she is emailing with. Think of it like a conversation, it’s more natural to say your name instead of just company name and department. Using your own name will only strengthen the relationship.
Great customer service inspires loyalty, creates brand advocates and increases revenues.
Whether you are a small business or fortune 500 brand, this guide is the perfect step to help get you started on the road to customer service success. So, download the free guide, copy and paste the customer service response templates and start improving the quality of customer service you offer today!
How do you use email templates for customer service in your business?
Let us know in the comments below.
P.S. Grab your free templates by clicking the image below.
Consumer Action offers a sample complaint letter and an email complaint template. I wish to complain about ____ (name of product or service, with serial You may reply to me at this email or call me at (phone number).