Sunday, April 14, 2013

Customer Service

As a follow up to this post, I wanted to provide a bit more detail on how you could go about writing a customer service letter.  And, with the advent of technology, there are several avenues that you can use to make it even easier.  I will be describing the pros and cons of each method, and how you can communicate your message effectively and clearly.

Credit: AngryDogDesigns

Snail Mail

My default avenue for customer service letters is writing snail mail.  It's classy, a lost art, and stands apart from e-mail.  Begin by quickly introducing yourself, providing loyalty program or other relevant information (such as a reservation number) right away.  Close the first paragraph with why you are writing.  For example:

Dear Customer Service,

I am a platinum member of your hotel program and my number is XXX-12355.  I am writing to report poor customer service I experience on XX, 15, 2013 at XX.

Make the rest of your letter quick, detailing the information, while being respectful.  No one wants to read a letter that appears as if the writer is "yelling" or irate.  But, you also want to sound like you know what you are talking about.  Cite a company policy, or if need be, the law.

E-Mail or Company Website Customer Feedback Form

Many of the same rules apply.  You can basically write the same thing as a standard letter, but you might need to tighten, or shorten your language.  E-mail tends to get lost with the ADD crowd, and if you are writing directly through the company's website, you might be limited in the amount of characters.  Be really quick here.  Bonus: you might be able to send an attachment to boost your case.

Phone Call

Hard core and old school.  Request to speak with the Manager, or someone in a position of authority.  Be succinct, firm, but respectful.  Mention your status, if you have it, and let them know you have options for your business.

Online Chat

A relatively new medium for complaining.  This format may include Facebook or Twitter chats, or the company's home page, in-house customer service chat, "live" customer service.  Be really respectful and quick to the point here.  There's a good chance that the person on the other end 1) Does not speak English well; 2) Is an outsourced employee who works at home who needs to make a certain quota a day; 3) Has a limit of time per customer; 4) Has limited authority regardless of the case.  Make it count.

In closing the method in which you choose may be what you feel comfortable with most.  For my most recent experience, I actually wrote the corporate office and talked to staff in person.  You might try multiple avenues in case one gets to a decision maker more quickly.