What Are the Principles of Replies to Complaint Letters?

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A customer who complains about the goods, or files a complaint is a friend in need. The supplies or the seller has to prove by his action that he is a friend indeed. It is on occasions like these that the customer’s confidence in the seller is tested. Much depends upon the treatment the customer gets when he makes a claim.

The main purpose of the replies to complaints letters is to settle the claim and to restore the faith, goodwill and business of a disgruntled customer. The seller must, therefore, settle the claim cheerfully and gracefully and not grumble or grudge doing so. It is advisable to follow below principles when replying to complaints letters:

1) Promptness

The customer who makes a claim is already dissatisfied customer. Any delay on the part of the supplier in acknowledging or answering his complaint would only add to his dissatisfaction. It is, therefore, imperative that the supplier answers the claim promptly. Promptness shows that the supplier cares for his customer. Promptness helps the supplier also because it leaves no line for the customer to go to another seller.

2) Courtesy

Courtesy assumes special importance in adjustment letters. If the adjuster has the right attitude he will not frown upon complaints but welcome them. There are many who fail to appreciate the significance of complaints as eye-openers. They doubt the very genuineness of the complaint and in their reply they attribute certain motives to the customer. The supplier should take special care to avoid certain expressions in his letters. For example, he should never write:

“We are surprised at your complaint as no other customer has ever found fault with our products.”

Such remarks will annoy the customer. Instead of such unsavory remarks the supplier should write:

“Thank you for telling us your experience with our washing machine.”

In summary, a letter of adjustment, even if it cannot grant the complaint, must be sound, polite and agreeable.

3) Consideration and helpful attitude

A polite reply is good as far as it goes, but what the customer needs is an adjustment. The supplier should, therefore, be considerate. He should make some adjustment, and if the adjustment is minor he should not hesitate to grant it at once. The supplier has to make an adjustment that gives maximum satisfaction to the customer at minimum loss to himself.

4) Tact

An adjuster must reply to the complaint letter tactfully. Otherwise, the matters might take a more serious turn. If he thinks he is not responsible for the cause of the complaint, he should give a brief explanation to say so but never resort to harsh words. He should never try to excuse himself by blaming any of his staff for the mistake. He should never be argumentative. Throughout the letter he should make an attempt to preserve the goodwill of the customer. The adjuster should listen to what the customer has to say and make him feel that he understands the customer’s problem or difficulty. He should then give the customer reason why things are as they are.

5) Pleasing tone

All adjustments should be made cheerfully and not grudgingly. It is better to accept the complaint gracefully and admit the error frankly. The pleasing tone of an adjustment letter makes a good impression on the customer and helps to re-build his goodwill and confidence.

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