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Customer Service Apology Letter

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					   Writing an Apology Letter: What You Need to
                      Know
                By Alice Feathers, M.A. TESOL, Professional Editor and Writer

                  source: http://www.writeexpress.com/apology-letter.html

Each of us has, at one time or another, said or done something that we wish we hadn't said or
done. Rather than dwell on the mistake, however, we should take quick action to remedy the
problem and then get on with life. An effective letter of apology is an important part of that
process and can help turn "lemons into lemonade" and actually improve a relationship. This
short article will give you several reasons for writing an apology letter and offer a few
important suggestions to help you write a good one.


       TIMING. Write the apology letter as soon as possible.
       ACTIONS. Rather than focusing on the damage you have caused, write about things
       you will do to rectify the situation.
       BRIEF. Keep your apology letter short and to the point.
       SINCERITY. No one wants to read overly dramatic language. Choose your words
       carefully and express yourself clearly and simply.
       TONE. Your apology letter should be considerate and respectful. Remember, you are
       trying to rebuild a damaged relationship.
       BLAIM. Take full responsibility for what you have done.
       FOLLOW UP. Try to set up a time when you can apologize in person, then back up
       your apology with considerate behavior in the future.


 An apology letter can be appropriate for any of these
 situations:

       For a defective, damaged, or incomplete product
       Tips: Write this apology as soon as possible after the incident. Focus on actions to
       rectify the situation rather than any damage you may have caused. Accompany your
       apology with a promise of compensation or restitution. A sincere apology can go a long
       way toward winning back a disgruntled customer. Consider offering the customer a
       peace offering such as a discount on their next purchase.




                                                                Prepared by Pat Kamalani Hurley, Professor CC
                                                                            Leeward CC (University of Hawai'i)
                                                            http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/hurley/default.htm
For a late payment
Tips: Your apology should be brief and to the point. Your reputation as a trustworthy
customer and credit risk may be in question, so your immediate and thorough
attention to the matter is important. Focus on your actions to correct the problem and
offer assurance it won't happen again. A sincere, well-worded apology can do much to
defuse a potential problem. Rebuild your reputation by consistently making payments
on time in the future.


For a missed deadline
Tips: Apologize for a missed deadline as soon as possible after the incident. The tone
of your letter should be considerate and respectful because you have probably caused
some inconvenience. The letter should focus on actions you will take to make up for
the missed deadline. A sincere, well-worded apology followed by positive action can do
much to undo any damage to your reputation. Rebuild your reputation by consistently
making your deadlines in the future.


For a shipping delay or error
Tips: Write this apology as soon as possible after the incident. Do not apologize unless
you plan to take full responsibility, and do not blame your reader or anyone else in
any way. A sincere, well-worded apology can be effective in winning back an unhappy
customer's confidence and patronage. Consider offering the customer a peace offering
such as a discount on their next purchase.


For betrayed trust
Tips: Write this apology as soon as possible after the incident. Don't apologize unless
you plan to take full responsibility. Focus your comments on the actions you are taking
to rectify the situation, not on the damage done. A sincere, well-worded apology,
coupled with action, can go a long way toward repairing the damaged relationship. In
this situation, it is usually best to apologize with a handwritten note or face to face.


For hurt feelings
Tips: Write this apology as soon as possible after the incident. Assume your reader
has good reason for being offended. Express your regret with deep sincerity. In this
situation, it is usually best to apologize with a handwritten note or face to face.


For missing a meeting or an appointment
Tips: Whether you have already missed an appointment or will miss an appointment



                                                        Prepared by Pat Kamalani Hurley, Professor CC
                                                                    Leeward CC (University of Hawai'i)
                                                    http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/hurley/default.htm
in the future, an explanatory note is a courtesy that will be appreciated. It shows you
do take the relationship seriously. Be concise and polite.


For missing an event or for forgetting someone
Tips: Write this apology as soon as possible after the incident. Focus your comments
on what you are doing to rectify the situation rather than on any damage you may
have caused. A sincere, well-worded apology can go a long way toward patching up a
damaged relationship. Back up your apology with considerate behavior in the future.


For being late to a meeting or appointment
Tips: Write this apology as soon as possible after the incident. Don't apologize unless
you plan to take full responsibility and don't blame anyone. Rebuild your reputation by
being consistently on time in the future.


For offensive behavior
Tips: Write this apology as soon as possible after the incident. This apology is best
expressed with a handwritten note. Back up your apology with considerate behavior in
the future.


For poor or inadequate service
Tips: Write this apology as soon as possible after the incident. Don't apologize unless
you plan to take full responsibility. A sincere, well-worded apology can help win back
disgruntled customers and business associates. Back up your apology with model
behavior in the future.


For someone else (business)
Tips: Normally, you should only apologize for your own offenses. However, if you are
in some way accountable for the offender's behavior--as a supervisor might be, for
example--it may be appropriate to write an apology even if the offender also writes
one. Write a sincere apology as soon as possible after the incident.


For someone else (personal)
Tips: Normally, you should only apologize for your own offenses. However, if you are
in some way accountable for the offender's behavior--as a parent or youth leader
might be, for example--it would be a good idea to write an apology, even if the
offender also writes one (under your guidance). Write a sincere apology as soon as
possible after the incident.



                                                       Prepared by Pat Kamalani Hurley, Professor CC
                                                                   Leeward CC (University of Hawai'i)
                                                   http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/hurley/default.htm
       To an employee or employees
       Tips: Write this apology as soon as possible after the incident. The apology should be
       unilateral. Do not attempt to apologize unless you plan to take full responsibility. A
       sincere, well-worded apology, coupled with action, can go a long way toward patching
       up damaged relationships with employees. Consider offering the employee(s) some
       sort of peace offering such as a check bonus or a one-time, 2-hour lunch break.


       Business apology
       Tips: Write this apology as soon as possible after the incident. It should be clear,
       concise, and dignified. Focus on actions you are taking to rectify the situation, rather
       than on any resultant damage. A sincere, well-worded apology can go a long way
       toward winning back disgruntled customers and business associates.


       Personal apology
       Tips: Write this apology as soon as possible after the incident. Focus on actions you
       are taking to rectify the situation, rather than on any damage you may have caused. A
       sincere, well-worded apology can go a long way toward patching up a damaged
       relationship. Back up your apology with considerate behavior in the future.


 SUMMARY
In order to make a letter of apology effective, always write it as soon as possible after the
offensive action takes place. Write a brief letter that is carefully worded and sincere.
Whenever possible, make suitable restitution and assure the offended party that you will not
repeat your regrettable behavior in the future. Back up your apology letter with appropriate
behavior at the next available opportunity.




                                                               Prepared by Pat Kamalani Hurley, Professor CC
                                                                           Leeward CC (University of Hawai'i)
                                                           http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/hurley/default.htm

				
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