An American corporation has just shown the world how to write a reply to a customer complaint and at the same time also how NOT to respond and actually make the complainant even angrier! CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO SEE THE FULL COMPLAINT RESPONSE As well as making sure that your Business English is perfect in this common business writing task, you MUST make the customer feel that you are genuinely listening to their grievance and acting upon it to make your business practices better in the future. As you can see from the full transcript of this letter below (which was posted on Reddit by user ‘lyndy’ and is quickly going viral), American Airlines completely failed at this. Using a written template and not changing the impersonal “CUSTOMER NAME” etc to the correct details is possibly the worst thing that could have been done and is a total PR disaster. To see the perfect Business English phrases for this type of letter, watch our video below
Dear Mrs (NAME WITHHELD) Thank you for letting us know about your recent experience with United Airlines. I apologize if our service did not meet your expectations, and appreciate you taking time to share your concerns. Our goal is to provide a consistently reliable product and an exemplary level of customer service. Based on the events you describe, we did not meet this goal. Your comments regarding (SPECIFIC EVENT) will be used for coaching and training our employees. To encourage you to fly with us again and as a tangible means of acknowledging your disappointment, enclosed if (SPECIFIC ITEM). (CUSTOMER NAME), I ask that you allow us another opportunity to serve you, as we consider it our privilege to have you aboard. Sincerely, (NAME REDACTED) Customer Care Manager
HOW TO WRITE A REPLY TO A CUSTOMER COMPLAINT
Here is a simple-to-follow plan for the perfect reply to a customer complaint: 1. ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIVING THE COMPLAINT LETTER 2. APOLOGISE FOR THE MISTAKE 3. ACCEPT THE COMPLAINT 4. PERSONALISE – SHORT EXPLANATION OF THE MISTAKE/ERROR THAT THE CUSTOMER DESCRIBED 5. IMPROVEMENT IN FUTURE – INVESTIGATION INTO FAULT / NOTICE OF RETRAINING STAFF 6. PROPOSAL – DISCOUNT / OFFER TO REPLACE / MONEY BACK 7. FRIEND AT THE END – WARM SENTENCE AIMED AT KEEPING THE GOODWILL OF THE CUSTOMER If you look at the response from American Airlines above, the template covers all of these essential points. If the customer care manager had only just personalised the response, the complainant would probably have been satisfied.