How to Answer Complaints?
THE next vitally important point is that you take the customer’s viewpoint. Look at the trouble through his eyes. Just as in a sales letter you can win a prospect’s confidence by opening with a statement that he recognizes as a matter of fact and then from that point gradually leading him to your proposition, so in answering a complaint, you can start out by agreeing with him and gradually lead him around to your way of looking at the question. If you don’t - if you state your position first and try to drag him to it, you are sure to antagonize.
A publisher sold a business book to a clerk in a railway office and the young man on receiving it complained that while the volume might be all right for a man in an established business, it was of no practicalvalue to him.
Now the publisher might have answered that young man after this fashion.
Don’t think that because the book seems of no use to you, we are going to take it back and refund your money. You certainly understood the nature of this book before you ordered it and if you didn’t want it, that was the time to say so instead of sending it to you and after the deal is closed. Under the circumstances, we cannot take the book back.”
Understand that’s what he might have said because that’s just the tone in which many a complaint is answered every day. But he actually wrote the young man in this manner.
“Dear Mr. Gimbel,
“I believe I understand perfectly just how you feel about the book. You feel that because your position is a detail one, because your work is limited in its scope, the book is too comprehensive to help you very much just now. And that would seem, at first though, a very just objection. But in reality, because your work is limited now, and because the book is comprehensive, aren’t you that very man the book will help most?
“Every man wants to get out of the rut, to grow, to develop into something better. Yet who is the man who wins promotion? Is it the clerk whose work is limited to his own routine of details? No, it is the man who knows not only his own work, but that of the man above him. And that is just what this book will enable you to learn. For it gives you the experiences of the most successful men in the country, it describes in detail their methods and the results.”
And so it ran on, showing the customer exactly how he could put the book to profitable use. Now in reply to either of those letters the young man would have kept the book; but in the first instance he would have kept it because he had to, in the second he did keep it because he wanted to. And that is the difference between the effect of a poor complaint letter and a good one.
How to Answer Complaints?
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