Does your business have an effective way of dealing with customer service letters? Recently I conducted some research on how best to answer customer complaints and enquiries with some surprising results.
Some of the businesses that I contacted had a poor process of dealing with customer enquiries and complaints, don’t be one of those companies!
From these interactions I have put together a three step process that I believe every customer service letter needs to do in order to be effective.
1. First Contact
Following up with a complaint or an enquiry straight away is incredibly important. Don’t forget that the customer’s opinions and thoughts are helpful to you.
Send an immediate follow up email telling them that you have received their request and are going to get back to them. This could be an automated response informing the customer that someone will personally get back to them in a specified time frame. The first contact email should still use a general tone as customers don’t like too formal or too “cut and paste” type emails. Below is a good example of what a first contact email has to do, however I think it is too formal and easy to see that is is an automatic email.
Having a quick initial response tells your customer that you’ve received their feedback and are actioning it. This is important if you have a process time of over 24 hours for a request because past that customers begin to get restless.
2. Personal Contact
The second point of contact should be from an actual person (ideally the one managing the issue). This isn’t necessarily an issue resolution but reassurance that the customer knows they are dealing with you directly rather than through an automated message. The customer should feel like their concern is important to you. The time frame for this personal contact is also important, it conveys a message that you care about the customer. The sooner you can make personalised contact the better (see a running theme.)
Your first personalised contact should do three things.
- Thank the customer for getting in contact with you.
- Outline the problem and what you are doing or have done to fix it or ask for more details you may need.
- Make yourself available for further contact. You could even provide a phone number for the customer to call.
The example below is a good one. It is the second contact that was made with me, the first was an automated email. It relates to a query with a particular store and so someone from the customer liaison team put me in touch directly with the store manager. As you can see below they thanked me for getting in touch, they outlined what they were doing and made themselves available for further contact.
3. The Follow Up
Further contact to make sure that the customer is satisfied is a necessary step in the customer service process. The follow up could help obtain further information on the matter at hand or to make sure there are no further questions that the customer has.
This is also a chance to find out how satisfied with your service the customer was. A survey is an easy and efficient way this can be done, however not everyone will complete the survey. You could also send a different email thanking the customer for contacting you and asking if there is anything else you can do for them.
Tone of Voice is important
The overall tone of voice in your correspondence will affect whether your customer will feel satisfied or neglected. Being overly formal can be detrimental to customer relationships. It can make them feel like they’re being given pre-written replies and not being dealt with in a caring manner.
Customer complaints and inquiries can be turned into a valuable resource to your business. They help you figure out improvements that can be made and they also allow you to personally connect with customers while learning what they really want. This gives you the opportunity to help solve a customer’s issue and ensure that similar problems don’t affect future customers.
If you have any more questions about customer service letters please get in touch with us and we can help you out or help you write and plan your letters.