A written letter addressing a customer complaint will be viewed as a direct reflection of your company or product. A careful, professional communication can prevent losing a customer, prevent bad future publicity for your company or even generate goodwill with a future customer. Since the written letter is also a "paper trail" that cannot be retrieved once it is sent, it is important that none of the information given creates future or additional liability for the company. The best professional responses are polite, concise and direct.
Use the date you'll be sending the letter, and the complete name and address of the complainant at the top of the letter. If you aren't using a company logo on the email letter or on the letter paper, be sure to add your company information after the signature line of the letter. Compose the letter on a computer -- handwritten letters are personal and not professional in nature.
Thank the complainant for taking the time to contact you with the reason for his dissatisfaction with your product or service. Be specific about restating what his dissatisfaction was so he is clear that you understand his complaint.
State your intention to work with the complainant in every way possible to resolve the issue to her and your mutual satisfaction.
Indicate that you will be contacting the complainant directly to work on a solution and that you will also be evaluating how you and your company can prevent a recurrence of the dissatisfaction.
Apologize for the inconvenience and restate your appreciation for the customer's willingness to contact you for a possible solution.
Express your intention to work to retain the customer's business and indicate how important his satisfaction is to your company.
Leave a few lines for your personal signature (if this is a written letter) and finish with your full name, professional title and your full company information. If you're sending an email, be sure to add a "thank you for contacting us" line in the subject of the email.
Use traditional block style letter format that features the date, customer's full name and address, your full name and contact information and a personal signature. Always run a spelling and grammar check on the final product, and get a quick proofread from an independent source if possible. Nothing reflects worse on your professional image than a letter that's sloppily formatted and riddled with misspellings or bad grammar.
Regardless of how severe or unprofessional the complaint you received, refrain from any questionable or accusatory language in your response. Your written response could ultimately fall into the hands of many people and even potential customers. Even if you are unable to completely satisfy the complaint you receive, a professional and amicable response letter targets building common ground and goodwill. It also reflects positively on you or your company with anyone else who may see the letter.
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