Automated Customer Service Responses – How NOT To Do It!


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United Airlines Automatic Response

Not receiving a reply to a customer complaint is irritating to say the least. Receiving an ‘automated response’ is just as annoying – you often get them via email and telephone, and it makes you feel that they don’t really care.

What we want as customers is a personalised response to our issue and one that acknowledges us as an individual. Most of us accept that things go wrong, and if someone takes notice of us, and importantly, takes responsibility for sorting things, we are happy.

Here’s an example of a customer service response letter that really gets it badly wrong. It’s a standard ‘automated response’ from United Airlines that is obviously ‘automated’ because they couldn’t be bothered to put the addressee’s ‘personal bits’ in!

Dear Mrs ————-
Thank you for letting us know about your recent experience with United Airlines. I apologize if our service did not meet your expectations, and appreciate you taking time to share your concerns. Our goal is to provide a consistently reliable product and an exemplary level of customer service.

Based on the events you describe, we did not meet this goal. Your comments regarding (SPECIFIC EVENT) will be used for coaching and training our employees. To encourage you to fly with us again and as a tangible means of acknowledging your disappointment, enclosed if (SPECIFIC ITEM).

(CUSTOMER NAME), I ask that you allow us another opportunity to serve you, as we consider it our privilege to have you aboard. Sincerely,


Customer Care Manager

The bit I think is particularly interesting is the fact that they consider it their ‘privilege’ to have the customer on board – unfortunately, their actions don’t support this.

I know things go wrong, and we’re all busy, but, this can be reduced by, wherever possible…

  • Eliminating ‘automated and scripted’ responses from your business
  • Empowering your people to take responsibility and respond personally
  • Equipping them with the tools, training and techniques to do so!

As ever, it’s always worth taking a bit of time out in your business to ‘stand in your own queues’ when it comes to all your interactions with your customers – here’s a simple guide to help you do just that.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Andy Hanselman
Hi there! I help businesses and their people create competitive advantage by 'Thinking in 3D'! That means being 'Dramatically and Demonstrably Different'! I research, speak about, write about and work with businesses to help them maximise their sales and marketing, their customer service and their customer relationships.


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