An Example of a Letter for Customer Service

Person smiling at letter in their hands
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Want to improve your customer service letters? Here are 10 top tips and a sample letter to get you started…

1. Start by Saying “Thank You”

Your customers don’t have to shop with you. Acknowledging this is a great start to the conversation. Straight after the thank you is given, get into the “meat” of the conversation by answering all the points in order of importance to the customer.

After the initial thank you, it doesn’t hurt to continue to stress that “your business is very much appreciated”. As a customer, you don’t feel like you are being taken for granted.

2. Use Everyday Language and Stick to One Idea per Sentence

It is best for an advisor to write as if they were explaining things to a friend or family member. So, try to break up long chunks of information into short sentences, stick to one idea per sentence and use simple words instead of complex phrases and acronyms.

As Fran Fish says: “Writing for service is hard. At school, we’re taught to form complex sentences and paragraphs and to build up our vocabulary. For service, we need to pare this down, to share information in a much simpler way.”

“So, if organizations are struggling to tackle communication channels, they’re in good company!”

3. Use Headings and Bullet Point Large Chunks of Information

In long letters, headings can be a great way to segment the text and improve structure.

Also, while it’s good to break up large blocks of information into simple sentences, bullet points are also useful, as they help to provide a better visual impact than big paragraphs of information.

If you open up a letter and all you see is words and long paragraphs, in the first instance, it’s hard to understand what’s important.

Fran Fish

Fran adds: “If you open up a letter and all you see is words and long paragraphs, in the first instance, it’s hard to understand what’s important. Bullet points and headings are especially useful for this.”

“Headings are especially great, as they help to signpost to the reader what is relevant to them, making the letter as clean and simple as possible.”

4. Avoid Cold, Overly Formal Language

There’s a lot of confusion about what “professional” means in letter writing for customer service. Many believe “we need to sound and write as a professional company”, yet this is a common misconception and often leads to companies being overly formal.

This is according to Fran, who says: “Formal language is cold and distancing. It’s not right for customer service. There are simple techniques that can be learned to make letters professional and clear, without making them formal.”

The trick is developing a tone of voice that fits your brand. Train advisors to be warm, empathetic and positive and you’re halfway there, while using active language instead of passive language is also important.

Active language helps to take ownership of the customer query. You can test that you’re writing in the active by adding the words “by robots” to the end of each sentence. If the sentence still makes sense, it is written in the passive. However, if it doesn’t, it is written in the active.

The “by robots” tip is discussed in more detail in our article: 10 Best Practices to Improve Live Chat

5. Direct the Customer to Any Supportive Documents

To add value to the letter, direct the customer to any additional documents or guidance notes. This can help the customer to easily find information for themselves and prevent them from having to write to the contact centre again.

In turn, this helps to reduce repeat customer contacts. However, make sure further reassurance is offered, so the customer feels happy to contact you again with another query.

6. Set Expectations With Timeframes

While this won’t be applicable to all query types, offering next steps and time expectations is key when handling complaints, as they help to reassure customers.

As Fran says: “With complaint handling, all customers are really interested in is ‘are you listening to me?’ ‘Do you care about me?’ And ‘what are you going to do about it?'”

With complaint handling, all customers are really interested in is ‘are you listening to me?’ ‘Do you care about me?’ And ‘what are you going to do about it?’

Fran Fish

Promotional offers, thank-you letters and booking confirmations don’t necessarily need “next steps” and, in some cases, offering them in a letter may increase contacts.

7. Open the Dialogue for Any Problems to Be Quickly Rectified

Most customers are familiar with the feeling of dread that comes with making a complaint to a company… How long will I wait on hold? Will they believe me? Will my issue be resolved?

Opening up the dialogue early and promising a positive response helps to remove this worry from any follow-up contact that may be necessary.

8. Remember That Listening Isn’t Just for Phone Calls

Fran believes that “we all have the ability to be better listeners, improve our communication skills and build rapport though language and words.”

Customers like to feel as though they are being listened to. In fact, it is a basic expectation. So, try to use the same words as the customer did when describing their issue, to underline that they have been listened to, and mirror their preferred language choices to build rapport.

Also, see how the example template asks the advisor to say “thanks for getting in touch about…” The “about section” is important as it offers the advisor the opportunity to demonstrate that they were listening, while it also helps to personalize the letter.

9. If Asking for Feedback, Explain Why It’s Important

Encourage customers to give feedback for the benefit of the community and to help future customers in their purchasing decisions.

By doing this, the advisor can help to reassure customers that the time they spend giving feedback isn’t just a “back-patting” exercise.

10. Don’t String Together Good Paragraphs From Different Letters

Fran Fish

Fran Fish

According to Fran: “What you may decide to do, if you have really well-written sentences stored in your knowledge base, is to string them together to form your letter. But this could end badly.”

“If someone decides to pull paragraphs from different types of letters together, but the intended letter is dealing with one particular thing, it might not be appropriate to have all of that content in there.”

The letter has to have a logical flow. You don’t want to be sending out letters that start with “sorry” but end with a promotional offer. This will only frustrate an already disappointed customer.

Find out our advice for saying sorry properly in our article: Customer Service Apologies – Keeping Sorry Fresh and Sincere

A Template Example of a Good Customer Service Letter

Here’s a sample letter you can copy and paste to get you started:

[title last name/first name],[Title]

[Company Name]

[Street Address]

[Zip/postcode]

[Date]

Subject of letter (not too formal, be clear)

References

Dear [title last name/first name],

If it’s a reply, say thanks for getting in touch about [topic].

Get straight to the point

What does the customer want to know? Why have you sent them this letter? If it’s an apology, then say sorry here.

Keep the reader’s attention

Break up long chunks of text into short sentences.

Stick to one idea per paragraph/sentence. This helps to keep things clear.

Rather than long lists, use bullets – remembering:

  • Write
  • In your
  • Tone of voice

Final details, call to action

Give the customer the info they need. Tell them what they should do and give them everything they need to do it.

For further reassurance

Please let us know if you need anything else. Let them know the best way to get information online or how to contact (and when).
E.g. You can email us at [address] or give us a call on [number]. We’re here Monday to Friday, from 8am to 5pm.

Kind regards,

Advisor’s own name

While many may question the use of templates, this example will help the contact centre to create a framework to make communication easier for advisors across all channels. It provides an easy-to-follow structure, while giving guidelines on where to personalize the response.

Templates do have their value, as Fran tells us: “They just need to be really well constructed, form part of an overall framework and be supported by training and QA (Quality Assurance). It’s when templates are created arbitrarily and aren’t updated that they become a challenge.”

Templates just need to be really well constructed, form part of an overall framework and be supported by training and QA (Quality Assurance).

Fran Fish

So, when we advise you to use a template, it is better to present guidelines in a structure like the example above. Avoid templates with most of the wording already filled out, which advisors are asked to: “[INSERT NAME]” or “[INSERT LOCATION]”.

To find more of our advice on writing for customer service, read our articles:

Author: Megan Jones
Reviewed by: Xander Freeman

Published On: 11th Apr 2024 - Last modified: 12th Apr 2024
Read more about - Customer Service Strategy, , ,

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