You have 7 days to respond – or else!

It’s a fact of life for car dealers that components within second hand cars will fail at some point.  Sometimes this is due to an actual defect, other times through wear and tear alone. 
 
Customers seek advice on what they perceive their rights to be and usually end up writing to say that unless you agree to meet their demands within 7 days, serious consequences will flow – usually the threat of court papers.  Inevitably that letter is written on a Friday, read by you on a Monday and suddenly you find that in order for Mr (or Mrs) Angry to be placated by the Friday of that week, you only have a matter of hours to get something in the post.  

We say, don’t panic.  Acknowledge their letter and say that its contents are being carefully considered and that a more comprehensive response will follow.  If you wish to reply – giving yourself some extra time is likely to result in a less emotional response and one that is likely to be more productive in terms of providing an effective after sale customer service.

When our clients pass on letters of this type to us we often have even less time to meet the customer’s 7 day deadline. And so an 11th hour holding letter is all we can do pending our consideration of the merits of the complaint, discussions and writing a more detailed response.

Even if the final reply is a “bad news” letter, this will be far less antagonistic to a customer than if they think you aren’t taking their complaint seriously by not responding at all.  A simple one line acknowledgement can really help take the sting out of a customer’s perception of your business, whilst giving either you (or us) the time to give appropriate contemplation to the points they make.

Published: 28 Mar 2013

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