Plain Words
Training Bulletin
issue 19

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Handling Complaints Pocketbook

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Training Bulletin Issue 19

Welcome to the latest training bulletin from Plain Words.

Why it pays to keep your customers

Working with customers can be immensely satisfying—it’s great to be thanked for helping someone resolve a problem. But too often, pressure of work means that when something goes wrong and customers don’t get the help they need quickly enough it piles on even more pressure. To help you break the vicious circle here are some suggestions from our new training course, Responding to Complaints.

Dealing with Complaints by Telephone

Learn to listen effectively: notice what else is going on in your mind while you listen to a customer. Chances are, you’re paying more attention to what you’re going to say next than to what you’re being told. This can stop you from hearing important information. Shut down that internal voice and concentrate on what the customer’s saying instead.

Things you should never say!

“You’re wrong.”
“This is the wrong department.”
“There’s nothing I can do about that.”
“Oh, lots of people have problems with that!”

Things you can say instead:

“I’m sorry to hear about that.” “I’ll find out who is the best person to help you, and put you through.” “Let me find out what we can do about that.” “Please tell me exactly what happened…”

Written responses to complaints

These can be by letter or by email, but in either case, you need to be clear on what you want to achieve by writing. Then check that what you’ve written makes it easy for the customer to do what you need. Have you used language that's easy to understand? If you’re stressed, there’s a temptation to retreat behind big words and pompous jargon, to put a nice, protective barrier between you and the unhappy customer. But this will only make things worse because you may end up having to write again to explain what you meant, or the customer will become more annoyed.

So choose plain words and ask yourself what you and the customer want. Can you summarise this in a sentence? And does your email or letter make it easier or harder to achieve what is needed?

Develop a library of standard texts and don’t be afraid to use them-they will save you time. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel every time you write. The trick is to edit properly before you send it so your message is customised and doesn’t read like a cut-and-paste job. Try reading it aloud-you can tell more easily if something doesn’t make sense.

These are just some of the areas covered in our Responding to Complaints course. Click here to read the full outline, or contact us at for more information.

Editor recommends

If you are in a customer-facing role, this is a handy little guide to keep beside you: Handling Complaints Pocketbook from Management Pocketbooks.

Public course schedule

Follow this link for the dates of our public courses.

The price is £495 + VAT per person for a one-day course and £850 + VAT for a two-day course. Half day courses are £295 + VAT per person.

We also offer private courses at your premises. Please call 01235 60 30 22 for details.

How to book

To book, call Abi on 01235 60 30 22 ext 20 or use the booking form.

Kind Regards
The Plain Words Training Team

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