Every business, sooner or later, despite its best efforts, falls short. You may fail to deliver something as promised or on time. Your services may not have measured up to the customer's expectations. Some customers may ignore the issue; others may write you a letter to request a refund. Always respond to a customer who takes the time to write to you, even if you decide not to issue a refund. Your response needs to be tactful to get the message across without alienating the customer.
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Decide whether you really want to refuse the customer's request for a refund. Evaluate her request carefully to determine whether it is reasonable. Consider the potential to lose this customer and the effect the loss of business would have on your company's revenue. A refund may be a reasonable cost to keep a customer; you may have to spend significant money on advertising to replace her. Consider offering a concession of some sort, perhaps discounted services in the future, as a compromise.
Outline the reasons for your actions. This can be in your mind, or on a notepad. Detail the reasons before you start writing, to organise your thoughts and be sure that you do not miss any key points. You are denying the refund because you do not feel the customer is entitled to it, but you should also note any additional facts about the situation. Examples are, that the services were provided on time, or that you did everything you said you would. The situation could also be one of buyer's remorse, and not because of a problem with your product or service.
Write a rough draft of the letter. Be tactful, but directly state the reasons for the denial. If you believe the purchaser is experiencing buyer's remorse, do not state that in your letter; simply detail the facts that the product or service was delivered according to the agreed-upon terms, and in the condition or quality that was promised. Offer any concession that is appropriate as a gesture of good will, and make it clear that it is not because anyone is at fault. Thank the customer for her past business, and say that you hope to be able to serve her in the future. Indicate that you are available if she has questions or comments.
Edit the letter for clarity. Wait for a while before continuing with the process; often a letter or other document looks considerably different to you after thinking about it for a while. Remember that anything you write and send to a customer is a potential permanent record. Review your tone carefully, and watch for condescending or sarcastic words in your writing that could be offensive and ruin any chance of future business with this customer or any people she shares the letter with.
Mail the letter to the customer. Send it regular first-class mail, with your signature and contact information. Keep a copy of the letter for your records, and file a copy in any customer files that you keep under her name.
Tips and warnings
- Have a business associate review the letter for accuracy and clarity, as well as tone. Different people may interpret the same wording differently.
- Make sure to review the letter for spelling and grammar problems before sending it.
- If the denial of the refund involves a significant amount of money, have a lawyer or your in-house legal team review the letter for potential liabilities and to determine what your obligations are in this matter.
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