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Korrespondenz auf Englisch - Beschwerdebriefe professionell beantworten

Schlagwörter: Korrespondenz auf Englisch, Beschwerdebriefe auf Englisch beantworten, Beschweren auf Englisch beantworten, Beschwerde auf Englisch beantworten, Englisch Beschwerde

You've received a written complaint from an international customer and now need to resolve the issue. Your first step - even if you will be contacting the customer by telephone - is to respond in writing. You'll need to write what's called a response letter.

Writing a response letter can be tricky because it requires more than just responding to the complaint. The first thread in the rope representing the bond between your company and the customer has been broken. The entire customer relationship is now at stake. How you handle the complaint will determine whether the thread is repaired, leaving the relationship intact and strengthened, or broken, leading the entire rope to eventually snap.

What makes things difficult is that an effective response involves more than just solving the customer's problem. It requires restoring the customer's confidence and loyalty to your company. A number of issues are simultaneously in play:

  • The problem

  • The customer's emotional state as a result of the problem

  • The customer's emotional state upon receipt of your response letter

  • The customer's satisfaction with your proposed solution

  • The customer's interpretation of your sincerity and helpfulness

  • The customer's feeling for how much your company values his patronage

That's a lot to deal with in one letter, but with a standard structure, helpful tips and a few important example building blocks and phrases, writing an effective response letter can be easy.

Setting the stage

Before you sit down to write a response letter, it's important to keep the following in mind:

  • You must respond to a complaint letter immediately. If you can't solve the problem immediately or don't have enough information, the first response letter should acknowledge receipt of the complaint, inform the customer that the matter is now under review and request any missing information. The second letter should then address the complaint.

  • Be sure you understand your organisation's guidelines for service levels, approved actions, compensation and acceptance of liability. Review any response letter you've written to ensure compliance with these guidelines before sending it.

The right mindset

In an age of large customer service call centres with nameless faces, customer service hotlines that cost 99c per minute and Web sites that bury customer service contact information so deep that the customer is steaming angry by the time he finds it, sending out a "Letter of Apology" response letter created with a form is usually the straw that will break the customer's back.

Today's response letter must be personal. It must use everyday rather than formal language. It must identify contact individuals, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. It must sound like a person talking: someone who understands the customer's pain, cares about what happens and sincerely wants to help. Someone who doesn't hide from problems.

Most important, today?s response letter must go the extra mile. It must provide a 150% solution for 100% of the customer's problem. Failure to go 150% when other companies are doing so will pretty much guarantee the customer will look elsewhere in the future for a new supplier.

But take heart. These facts are what makes writing response letters fun. Think of yourself as the problem solver. The one who wants to make people happy, and the one empowered to do so!

Response letter structure

The format of a response letter is no different than a standard letter (refer to Effektive Geschäftsbriefe schreiben, OBET 09/2007).

The content of your response letter should have the following structure:

  1. Open by stating the reason you are writing. Refer to the complaint letter by date.

  2. Restate the complaint to demonstrate you have understood it.

  3. Sympathise (refer to Entschuldigen und Mitgefühl ausdrucken, OBET 10/2007). Keep in mind - if you will not be apologising - that you can still - and should - sympathise without necessarily agreeing with the customer's complaint or accepting liability for the problem.

  4. If your company is at fault, apologise.

  5. Explain how the problem or error occurred, if this is relevant.

  6. State exactly what you will do to solve the problem or compensate the customer. If you cannot accept the customer's proposed solution, or if he has not suggested one, state your proposed solution.

  7. Apologise for the situation and for the customer's inconvenience. State what you will do to compensate for these factors (this is the extra mile).

  8. State the importance of the customer to your company and the value of his feedback.

Building blocks

Open your letter (1)

I was concerned to read your letter dated ... regarding ...

I just read your letter dated ..., and I was alarmed/sorry to hear that ...

Restate the complaint (2)

If I understand you correctly, you have ... and are not /no longer ...

Sympathise (3)

I appreciate your frustration.

I appreciate how frustrating this may be.

I agree with you, service/treatment such as you describe is unacceptable.

I can certainly understand why you are feeling unhappy/frustrated/ irritated.

Apologise (4)

Please accept my sincere and unreserved apology for this situation.

First, let me say how sorry I am that ...

    ... this has happened.

    ... you are dissatisfied with our product /service.

I can't tell you how sorry I am that this has happened.

Explain (5)

After looking into the matter, I learned/was surprised to learn that ...

This is not a situation I have run into before.

This is a new complaint for us.

We take great care to ensure that matters such as this are properly managed/ handled.

Unfortunately, due to ..., we are/were not able to ...

Other customers have recently complained about this as well.

I believe something went wrong in processing your transaction. According to our records, the final steps were simply not taken.

It looks like the incorrect amount was entered on our end.

This is of course a major slip-up.

State the solution (6)

I have spoken with management / those involved, and we agree (with you) that ... would be a quite appropriate solution.

I can assure you that we take your complaint quite seriously.

I have spoken with management about the situation, and am authorised to propose that we ...

In light of this, we have decided to ...

Of course we would be happy to replace your product and pay all related shipping charges.

Simply discard the ... you received. I will put a new one in the post today.

I am sorry that we were not able to propose a solution in line with your suggestion, but would be happy to speak with you about it should you not find our solution to be a comparable alternative.

Apologise for the inconvenience (7)

Your confidence in MetaBook and satisfaction with our products is our top concern. When we don't deliver, no excuse will do.

Although we cannot guarantee that ..., we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience you have experienced.

We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience or delay that may have resulted from this.

As an indication of how important your patronage is to us, I have ...

    ... enclosed a complimentary copy of ...

    ... sent you a gift coupon in the amount of ...

    ... authorised a partial refund in the amount of ...

You should receive this within the next three weeks.

State the customer's importance (8)

Your continued business as a satisfied customer is vitally important to our success.

We are constantly and actively working to improve our service levels and feedback such as yours is invaluable to this process.

Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.

I will contact you soon to confirm that this solution meets your expectations.

Please contact me should you have any further cause for concern.

To help me address this situation quickly, I need a bit of additional information from you. Could you please fill out the accompanying form and fax it directly to me at ...

Beschwerdebriefe professionell beantworten - Checkliste

After you've completed your response letter, review it for the following issues:
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