Writing Corrective Actions for customers

Subject: Writing Corrective Actions for customers
From: "Michael West" <mbwest -at- bigpond -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2008 21:43:05 +1000

Geoff Hart wrote
> Deborah Hemstreet wondered: <<I have been asked by a client to write
> a letter that communicates corrective action information (based on
> the customer's complaint) to the customer.>>
> A thankless job if ever there were.
> <<1. What do other companies communicate to their customers?>>
> First, the trick is to be very careful to avoid blaming the customer,
> no matter how obviously they are at fault. The goals are to reassure
> them that their complaint is being taken seriously, and (as in all
> procedural documentation) to help them resolve the complaint. Either
> tell them what to do to solve their problem, or tell them what you
> are doing to solve their problem. You want the person to believe that
> the problem will go away so that they don't have to complain again,
> and that you want them to remain a customer.

Whoa. We haven't established what, if anything, this "corrective action" is.
Is the vendor making a change in the product? Fine, then the task is to
acknowledge the customer's issue and advise him or her what the solution is
and when it will be available.

Or, on the other hand, is the "corrective action" something that the
customer is expected to do? Then you, the tech writer, have a standard
procedure-writing task to perform.

My preference as a customer would be to get hard facts rather than a lot of
touchy-feely stuff from the vendor. I don't want to be stroked. I just want
to know whether this product is going to do what I need it to do, and when
and how.

If the answer is "no" then give it to me straight. I can handle it. If the
answer is "yes" then stop toe-dancing around and tell me what I need to

Mike West
Melbourne, Australia.


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