But in this hi-tech age, we tend to forget that the humble
letter has just as an important role in ensuring good customer
Yet how many times have you received a ‘letter of
apology’ which makes you even more dissatisfied?
The message it
conveys, the language used – all designed to wind you up!
With some careful thought, a well-crafted letter can provide
comfort to a complaining customer and enhance your reputation as
a customer-focused business.
In this article I am going to share
some tips on how to write a great customer service letter.
What are you writing for?
To write a great letter you have to be in the right frame of
mind. Are you writing to handle a complaint, answer a query or
to thank them for placing an order? Framing the letter in the
right context means you will use the appropriate language and
the tone will be right. Try writing a thank you letter as if you
are responding to a complaint – the message is totally
Before putting pen to paper, think for a minute and decide what
your aim or goal is.
State your purpose
Start off by summarizing why you are writing. Open your letter
by saying that you are responding to a query, or to resolve a
problem they have had. This sets out to the reader why you are
contacting them and puts them in the right frame of mind to
accept your message. An opening summary will grab their
Include a W.I.I.F.M.
No, this is not some obscure radio station! WIIFM stands for
‘What’s in it for me?’ To truly engage your customer and get
them on your side, you have to include a benefit for them. They
have to get something out of your letter so they feel satisfied.
What could their WIIFM be? Their complaint may be resolved; they
may get a discount voucher or priority service the next time
they use you. If the compliant is a minor one, a simple,
heartfelt apology may be enough!
Study your letter carefully and make sure you have a WIIFM
Don’t say ‘I’
Wherever possible, avoid littering your letter with I’s. The
reader will find it hard to link with you if they receive ‘me,
me, me’ letters. Review your letters and wherever possible
substitute ‘I’ with ‘you’. Change the focus to the reader. Make
them feel valued.
Write as you speak
I forget the number of times I have received letters, which read
as if they were written in the early 1900’s! Packed full of
boring, stiff and outdated language – too formal. Your writing
style should reflect the way you talk. After all, providing good
customer service is partly down to how you interact or
communicate with your client and letters play an important role.
So, review your letters and get rid of those phrases you learnt
in school letter-writing lessons!
“Please do this…”
Having written a great letter, you don’t want it to tail off
into nothing. Have a clear action-orientated close. Make sure
your reader knows what you expect him to do next – “call me so
we can discuss this idea in more depth”, “fill in the attached
form and pop it in the post”, “send me an order” (a bit strong
perhaps but certainly to the point!)
A resounding call-to-action is a great way to finish a letter
and leaves the customer in no doubt what he has to do next –
another element of good customer service.
Ask someone to check your letter
If you are writing a very important letter or one containing a
complex message, it’s wise to ask someone to proof read it. This
is not just to check your spelling but also to check
readability. Is the structure of the message you wish to convey
clear and understandable? You’ll be amazed by what someone else
might pick up which you have completely missed!
So, there you have it. Some useful tips on how to write a superb
letter, which will further enforce your image of providing
exceptional customer service.
About the Author
© Robert Warlow Small Business Success
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