Quick note on Final Response Letters

What makes a Final Response Letter, a Final Response?

We could just say it’s your response to the complaint,, but actually the Final Response Letter, is so much more than that. It represents, the final outcome from all of the hard work you’ve put into investigating that complaint, as well as persuading the customer that the outcome is the right one even if it’s not the one the wanted. 

At it’s very basic level, it needs to:

  • Outline your understanding of the complaint,
  • Talk about your investigation,
  • Provide the outcome,
  • Tell the customer what redress, if any, you’ll be paying   

So, it needs to work bloomin’ hard for you and that means making a good job of it. 

Ticking all the regulatory boxes

It’s important that you know the basics of what needs to be in the Final Response Letter, otherwise, it simply won’t qualify as one. This can have major implications on your complaint if you don’t tick one of these boxes.

So, let’s summarise what DISP says, so that you miss nothing out:  

  • The outcome – it must accept the complaint offering redress, offers redress without accepting the complaint, or rejects it;
  • Includes a FOS leaflet for the consumer
  • Provides the FOS’ website address
  • Provides FOS referral rights, informing the customer that they have six months from the date of the letter to do so
  • Tells the customer if you’re going to waive any rights to time limits (the six months referred to above or the ‘6&3’ rules. 

Why has this letter got to work so hard though?

The main reason is because ideally you want that letter to persuade the customer that you’ve reached the right outcome, along with having considered their points fairly. It’s a very delicate balancing act, and if you get it wrong, then that complaint ends up with the Ombudsman Service. 

That’s not always a bad thing, but in an ideal world you’d like to be able to resolve all of your complaints and have a customer that is happy to continue to engage with your company. And that means your Final Response Letter represents your opportunity to try and win back that consumer. It represents the sum total of your investigation into their complaint and it also gives you the chance to show that you have taken what they’ve said seriously.

All this in one letter I hear you ask? Yes, which is why it’s so important that you nail the letter and show all of the investigation that’s gone into it. It essentially showcases your working out. 

What makes a Final Response Letter stand out then?

We’ve seen the whole spectrum of Final Response Letters from the truly awful to the exceptional.But, the thing is, you might not necessarily know good from bad, so we’ll share some of what makes a great letter for us. 

The main difference comes down to demonstrating that you’ve listened and taken on-board the consumer’s points. This comes across in the tone, the language and the way your construct your letter. Every little bit of that letter needs to demonstrate how hard you’ve worked on this complaint. Get one of these things, just a little off-kilter, and it really won’t land well with the consumer.  

Wanting more?

Then it's time to book on to our Final Response Letters that get the right results course.

In our workshop we cover everything you need to know about effective Final Response Letters including:

  • Looking at customer behaviour when it comes to complaints
  • The other important parts that sit in and around your letter, including timing, clarity and the other parts that your don’t always consider
  • Exploring whether the outcome matters
  • The mechanics of the letter, including tone, language and how you communicate