Paolo Fabrizio
July 5, 2022

Bad News? How Do You Inform Your Customer?

Inform your customer

Nobody wants to disappoint others. Nevertheless, there may be some situations where you know you do it because something unexpected happened. That’s the moment of truth since how you inform your customer can make or break the experience. Here’s a vivid example to inspire you.

When It Happens, It Happens…

As a customer, I’ve recently had an incredible experience. Two months ago I booked a B&B for a weekend in August. The online booking process was smooth, so I received an immediate confirmation with a warm welcome. I was really looking forward to staying at that property that was very well located (good neighborhood and transportation connections). Unfortunately, after a couple of weeks, the host sent me this private message – I hope you have not had any similar experiences. But if you have, I hope they were handled as well:

This left me speechless for a minute! Then I could only reply to the B&B host that I was disappointed but at least they had informed me 50 days before my vacation. Thank goodness I was able to find and book another place the same day.

Now, from a customer’s standpoint, the above communication is certainly not the one you’re happy to receive. However, it includes a few winning ingredients that I’d like to point out:

  1. Provide context – tell me who you are
  2. Reference – explain the subject so that the customer can easily recall it. The more concise, the better.
  3. Inform your customer – describe what’s happened clearly and motivate (in this case ‘it was to happen next year, but…’)
  4. Show empathy – put yourself into the customer’s emotions. How would you feel when reading such news? Explain if there’s something that you can do or why you can’t (‘it is out of our control…’)
  5. Close the loop – tell the customer what comes next (in this case the third online platform has also followed up with another email).

To dive more into how to deal with unexpected situations read here.

Over To You

When you have to inform your customer – especially about unexpected/bad news – do it at the soonest possible moment. Then take your time to write a draft and check it before hitting the ‘send’ button. You’ll realize how small amendments generate huge differences in terms of your customers’ perceptions, and thus, reactions.

Is your customer service team up-skilled yet to master online conversations?

Have great conversations.

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Paolo Fabrizio

Digital Customer Service Consultant, Trainer, Author, Speaker. Paolo has been helping companies to harness digital customer service as a business driver. Founder of CustomerServiceCulture, author of books and speaker at conferences in Italy and abroad. Lecturer at the Bicocca University of Milan