5 Examples of Great Email Replies to Customer Complaints

Feb 27, 2020

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  • Customer Support

Having a customer that actually brings their issue to your attention is a great gift. Surveys show that 96% of unhappy customers never complain to the company about their dissatisfaction with a product or service. That means the vast majority of complaints are directed at family or friends, which can have a lasting impact on business through negative word of mouth. Increasing customer satisfaction is a fundamental goal for any organization, and how your support team addresses complaints can have a tremendous influence on customer retention.

Using email templates to train your customer support team can help build alignment among your service reps and build a unified front that genuinely represents the value of your brand. A shared inbox is a valuable tool for managing customer support requests, allowing customer service reps to collaborate, draft replies, and get feedback before sending responses to customer complaints. Since each customer’s situation is unique, it is always best to personalize each message and take into consideration any important preferences for each person. By addressing their specific issues successfully, you can turn a negative situation into a positive experience and continue to develop long-term relationships.

There are some useful resources available that can help your service team handle customer complaints in an organized and effective way. In this post, we'll discuss five excellent email reply examples that you can replicate to start meaningful dialogues with unhappy customers.

1. Acknowledging Receipt of a Customer Complaint

When a customer submits a complaint through any communication channel, it's important to let them know that their voice was heard and that the relevant company contacts have been notified.

Dear [Name],
I am sorry to learn that you were on hold with our customer service department for 30 minutes. I understand how frustrating this must have been for you. We value our customers' time, and this should not have happened.
I will relay this message to the appropriate department and customer service representative. We are prioritizing the issue you're facing with our software, and our team is already working actively to resolve the issue. I'll notify you right away when it's fixed.
I appreciate you making us aware of your negative experience. We strive to provide excellent customer service in a timely manner, and I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. Please let us know if you have any additional questions, concerns, or comments.
Warm Regards,
Jane Smith
Customer Service Director

As this example highlights, a reply that is personalized and acknowledges the specific points that the customer has made is best. They have also included the phrase, “Our team is already working actively to resolve the issue. I'll notify you right away when it's fixed." This reassurance lets the customer know that a follow-up will be coming directly from the representative who sent the original email reply.

2. Responding to Dissatisfaction with Overall Customer Experience

There will be times when a customer is dissatisfied but may not be able to clearly describe why. It could be because they encountered multiple issues or simply did not have an enjoyable customer experience. In any case, your customer service team may receive a complaint that expresses this dissatisfaction without specifics.

The best course of action in this case is to acknowledge the customer's dissatisfaction and express your desire to assist them in clarifying their complaint.

Dear [Name],
Thank you for your email. We take customer satisfaction seriously and are glad to hear from you.
First, I would like to apologize for the frustration you've been experiencing recently. I want you to know that we appreciate your feedback. It will allow us to resolve any problems that occur and help us to improve our services.
We're proud that you've selected our company as your service provider for the last five years, and we'd like the opportunity to resolve your concerns and earn your continued trust.
To help us route your complaint to the appropriate department who can address your concerns, we'd be grateful if you can provide us with additional details regarding your experience by filling out the attached form.
We are truly sorry for the inconvenience and hope to offer you better services in the future.
For any questions or further assistance, please reply to this message or call us at 1-800-234-5678.
Best regards,
Jane Smith
Customer Service Director

This example customer service response email includes a clear request to assist the customer in clarifying the complaint. In this example, the customer service team has prepared a form that is attached to the email reply for the customer to fill out. Using a form such as this gives your team a quick and easy resource that can be used to get the customer more involved. This follow-up process also gives your team the information it needs to take action to remedy the issues that led to the complaint.

3. Handling a Delivery Delay

Providing customers with a reliable estimate for their product delivery has become an essential requirement these days with continued competition for expedited shipping services. One of the most common – and frustrating – issues that customers may face is a package that does not arrive as scheduled. Delayed deliveries can be a challenging issue for your service team to manage as they need to work in coordination with your delivery service provider.

A message with a supportive tone is best when a product delivery is delayed.

Dear [Name],
I am so sorry to learn that your order has not arrived. I understand how frustrating this must be.
I've tracked your package via the U.S. Postal Service, and it's currently listed as [status]. If you'd like to keep track of your package's status, you can visit this link: [link]
Please contact me directly if your package has not arrived by [date] by responding to this message. Alternatively, you can call me directly at 1-234-567-8910.
Once again, I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.
Best,
John Smith
Customer Service Representative

Your customer support agent can double-check the tracking information from the carrier and suggest that the customer contact the agent again if the package still does not arrive. This reply starts a positive tone for the conversation that can be carried through to a resolution.

4. Communicating with an Angry Customer

There will be certain times when a customer is so angry, it is clear that there is little opportunity to try and remedy the situation directly. In these situations, a straightforward and candid approach often works best.

Dear [Name],
I am so sorry to hear that your experience with our company has not met your expectations.
Customer satisfaction is our top priority, and I am truly sorry that wasn't demonstrated to you.
While we'd love the opportunity to regain your trust, we understand how frustrated you must be. My deepest apologies for any inconvenience we have caused you. We wish you all the best in the future.
Please let us know if you have any additional questions, concerns, or comments, or if we may be of assistance at any point in the future.
Best,
John Smith
Customer Service Director

In this example, the customer service representative acknowledges the customer’s feelings and wishes them well. Their reply also offers the opportunity for the customer to contact them again with any additional questions or comments. It also leaves the door open for the customer to continue the discussion or make their decisions without fueling their anger.

5. Addressing Technical Complaints

When your customer submits a complaint that highlights a specific issue, your team needs to reply with a response that thoroughly addresses the problem. A few of the most important points are to respond specifically to the issues, apologize, clearly state what follow-up has been done (or will be done), and highlight any long-term improvements that can be made.

Dear [Name],
I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience theses issues may have caused you. I have taken the liberty of refunding your subscription fee for this month. You will continue to have full access to all features of our software.
It appears that the connectivity issues you experienced were caused by a malfunction on our server. Poor connectivity is also the most likely cause of your inability to save your updates. Our team has identified the source of the issue and is working actively to implement a fix. We estimate that the problem will be fully resolved within the next hour. I'll reach out directly to let you know as soon as your access is restored.
Further, we'll be migrating to new servers within the next two months, which will provide further stability to our service.
Please don't hesitate to contact us if you need further assistance. Thank you for taking the time to provide us with valuable feedback.
Sincerely,
Jane Smith
Customer Service Representative

This email example illustrates all of these best practices for replying to your customers. Based on a specific issue with a software application, the service agent is able to provide a complete resolution to the customer's concerns and address all their key points.

How you reply to a customer complaint can have a significant impact on its acceptance and your chances of retaining the customer. With a well-trained customer support staff and meaningful email templates, you can give your team a great framework for addressing these complaints in a positive way.