How to Write a Great Customer Service Letter – With Examples

Happy woman reading a letter on a table at home
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Want to improve your customer service letters? We take a look at how to put together a good customer service letter, giving examples to bring best practice to life.

The Four-Part Approach

Here is a four-step approach to help improve customer service letters, as recommended by Fran Fish, Head of People & Culture at Sustainable Ventures:

1. Clear

Use simple, plain English. No jargon. Use headings and bullet points, so that the content is easy to follow and read.

2. Credible

Make sure there are no typos and all the provided information is “correct”. But the letter should also look and read the part – it should “look and sound like your brand.”

3. Answered

Answer all the questions that have been asked (and any that may come after). Get to the point quickly, as that’s the best way to reduce frustration and repeat contacts.

4. Tone

Using the right tone, that fits the reader (or customer) and the reason you’re contacting them. We expect the tone used in an apology letter to be different from the tone used in a special-offer email.

Fran also recommends that you “keep it personal and human and consider if a letter or email is really the right medium. Sometimes a quick, good-old-fashioned call works best.”

Keep it personal and human and consider if a letter or email is really the right medium. Sometimes a quick, good-old-fashioned call works best.

Fran Fish

Remember, while in most cases it is good to stick to a customer’s channel preference, it is sometimes best to pick up the phone. For example, if the customer has sent three or more letters over an issue, it might be best to pick up the phone to nip any rising customer frustration in the bud.

An Example of How to Use This Four-Stage Approach

As an example of how this four-part approach to write customer service letters can be made actionable, we have provided two examples of customer service letters that were written by a car insurance company in response to the same customer query.

The first response is how the company originally thought of replying to the customer, following their old procedures. The second example is a rewrite of the first, which was created under the guidance of the four-stage approach.

The letters are responses to a customer query which asked: “Am I covered if my kids’ laptops get stolen out of the car while I’m holiday?” The customer’s query letter was signed off with both their first and last name.

The Original Customer Service Letter (The Bad Example)

Dear Mr [SURNAME]Thank you for your enquiry.

We apologise for the delay in our response.

Personal Belongings cover is provided for the loss of or damage to (some) personal effects while in or on the insured car.

The insured must take reasonable care of the property and this does not extend to money, credit or debit cards. The cover is also not provided for soft-top/open cars. The amount payable will be shown on the Policy Schedule. This covers you up to £300 per claim.

I hope this answers your query.

Yours sincerely,

The Rewritten Customer Service Letter (The Good Example)

Hi [First name],Thanks for getting in touch about your kids’ iPads. Sorry it’s taken me a little longer to reply.

If the iPads were stolen from your car we’d cover up to £300 of their value.

Tip: It’s worth checking to see if your home insurance will cover a higher value.

Just so you know, if the worst does happen (and you want to make a claim), we’ll need you to have taken ‘reasonable care of the property’. That means:

  • lock the doors, boot and roof box,
  • close the roof and the windows,
  • take your car keys with you and
  • put the iPads out of sight in the glove compartment, boot or roof box when you leave the car.

I also need to tell you that we don’t cover theft from open and soft-top cars. You’ll find more information about what is and isn’t covered in our Policy Schedule online.

If you decide to take out insurance with us, the fastest and easiest way is to apply online.

If there’s anything else I can help you with, please let me know.

Have a great holiday!

How Has the Letter Been Adapted for the Better?

Fran Fish takes us through how the rewrite is an improvement in terms of the “clear, credible, answered and tone criteria”.

Clear

  • Gets to the point quickly
  • Meets and matches the customer’s needs
  • ‘Easiest way is to apply online’ – influences customer’s choice of service channel
  • Uses bullets to lay out information in easy-to-read format

Credible

  • Includes insurance detail – demonstrates knowledge and expertise
  • ‘Tip’ gives insurance options – builds trust

Answered

  • Addresses the customer’s query first ‘we’d cover up to £300 of their value
  • Less effort for the customer – no need to go digging around for the Policy Schedule

Tone

  • Fits the nature of the query
  • Empathetic and personal tone used

How Did Switching to the Four-Stage Approach Benefit the Car Insurance Company?

Mazaru and independent researchers ICM shared both car insurance letter examples with 2,000 consumers. The consumers were asked to share preferences and ‘next actions’, when comparing the two letters.

The results suggested that the car insurance company could benefit in each of the following ways by permanently switching to the style of the rewrite:

  • Less overall contact – 19% fewer consumers said they’d need to get more information
  • Sales enquiries increased – 24% more consumers said they’d go on and ask for a quote
  • Satisfaction scores increased – 27% more rated their customer satisfaction of the response ‘high’, i.e. 7–10 out of 10
  • Channel shift increased – 9% more consumers said they’d go online to get a quote
  • Advocacy / NPS increased – 22% more said they would go on and recommend the insurer to friends or family

Three Good Examples of Different Types of Customer Service Letters

Below are three great examples of different types of customer service letters.

Sample Letter – Response to a Complaint

Here is a good response to a customer complaint about their credit profile.

Our response to your complaint

Dear [title last name/first name],

Thank you for getting in touch with us about your credit file. After looking into this for you, I’ve included my findings in this letter.

It might be easier to talk about this over the phone, so please give me a call if that would be helpful. I did try to call you a few times on [date] and [date] but couldn’t reach you.

Background

You’ve been in touch with us because you believe we have registered “default” or “repossession” on your credit file.

Checking your credit file

I’ve checked your payment history between [date] and [date] and found that each payment has been made on time. I could also see that you made your final payment of [£amount] on [date], which settled your account early.

I can confirm that we have recorded each payment, including your final settlement, as “paid on time” and have not registered a “default” or “repossession” against your credit file.

I hope that this answers your question and addresses your complaint. If you’d like to discuss this with me over the phone, please get in touch. You’ll find my number at the top of this letter.

Yours sincerely,

5 Good Things About This Example

  • The company say thank you immediately
  • They offer a phone call, in case the reader wants to speed up the process
  • They use headings to highlight the different stages of the process
  • They use “I” and not “we” (as in the company) to highlight that someone is taking ownership of the customer’s issue
  • They use the customer’s words, such as “default” or “repossession”, to directly respond to the customer’s problem

Sample Letter – A Service Notice

In this example, a customer service letter is used to warn residents of repair and maintenance work.

Dear resident,

We’re carrying out some work in your street.

We need to do some important repair and maintenance work outside [address].

This means parking will be restricted – we’ll put out cones to show you where you won’t be able to park.

When

[Time and date]

We’ll be finished by

[Time and date]

We’re sorry for the inconvenience – we’ll get the work done as quickly as we can. You can also find out more about why this happening and read regular updates on our website – just go to TheWaterCompany.com/streetworks

If you would like to contact us directly, call: 01234567890. You can also email: info@thewatercompany.com

Kind regards,

[Name]

Site Supervisor

5 Good Things About This Example

  • The company put the most important information first, in a large font
  • They use headings to clearly signpost when and where, so this impact on the reader becomes immediately obvious
  • They offer reassurance to the reader that this will not be a long process
  • They use an active tone of voice to highlight their urgency
  • They highlight where the reader can go for further information

Sample Letter – A Thank You Letter

While this may not be a perfect letter, there are many things to like about this customer service letter, created by Barnyarns.

An example thank you letter from barnyards

Thanks to the Barnyarns team for sharing this example with us!

5 Good Things About This Example

  • Barnyarns start by saying “thank you”
  • They continue to stress that “your business is very much appreciated”
  • They value quality
  • They don’t just ask for your feedback – they explain why it is important
  • They open the dialogue for any problems to be quickly rectified

…And 2 things they could improve on?

But while it includes a number of nice “ingredients”, here are two ways in which it could have been improved:

  • Signing off with “Charlie from The Barnyarns Team” would have given it a bit more of a personal touch – especially if this was handwritten!
  • This is a very useful template for what a good customer service letter should look like, but personalising it with Mr Smith could have made it even better…

For more on putting together a good thank-you letter, read our article: How to Write a Thank-You Letter to a Customer

Thanks to Mazaru for sharing each of the letter examples that we’ve used in this article. 

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

Originally published in February 2016. Recently updated.

Author: Megan Jones
Reviewed by: Jonty Pearce

Published On: 3rd Oct 2018 - Last modified: 26th Feb 2024
Read more about - Customer Service Strategy, , , , , , ,

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