Entrepreneurial Selling

Resolving Disputes With Email

Written by Brenda Stokes for Gaebler Ventures

E-mail is more and more becoming a primary form of communication in business. Some business deals and correspondence are done through email and no other way. So what do you do when a dispute, complaint, or a complication arises?

E-mail correspondence is becoming one of the primary ways in which business is conducted. It is also the primary communication amongst some people, especially if they have a complaint.

Resolving Disputes With Email

It is easier for individuals to complain via email because of the fact they don't have to look at you in the eye. They feel freer to say what they need to say without you knowing what they look like. There is also the fact that an individual is simply afraid of face-to-face complication, but they suddenly overcome that fear over e-mail.

The dispute

The occasional dispute is going to arise. For instance, you may have completed a transaction with a customer, but the customer says that they were charged the wrong amount after the transaction was completed.

In such a situation in which a dispute over email is submitted, you can reply with any supporting information to show the client that the transaction was correct. If it is incorrect, then you can apologize and offer the customer a resolution, such as credit back or a coupon or gift card.

Fortunately, disputes are mostly due to a misunderstanding and a little education can resolve the issue.

The complaint

The complaint comes when a customer or another individual has an issue with you, one of your employees, or with a product or service. Don't let the content of the e-mail complaint get to you too much. Some individuals tend to come through rather harsh in their writing.

When taking care of this type of issue, e-mail resolution is rather simple. You can apologize for what occurred and ask what you can do to make it right. If the individual's request is unreasonable, you can offer an alternative.

The complication

Complications come in many forms. The complication can be with a vendor, a client, an employee, or a customer. It more or less falls within the realm of a dispute and a complaint since both of those are considered complications within the business.

Basically, you always want to be kind in dispute resolution no matter how much the complication gets under your skin. E-mail, however, gives you a moment to think about what you are going to say before you send it. This is opposed to face-to-face interaction where what comes out of your mouth is gospel. In this case, you can reread your response to ensure that it is the proper response.

In resolving a business complication, you always want to know what the individual wants. This is opposed to guessing. You can simply ask them, "What do you need me to do for you?" This can resolve a complication faster than going around in circles with them to figure out what they want.

So when resolving a conflict over email, you simply need to use good business sense. Imagine you are resolving the conflict in person, but the individual is not in front of you. Always ask, "What can I do for this person" and you should have no problem finding a solution.

Brenda is a graduate of California State University and a professional writer covering a variety of business topics. To learn more about Brenda, check out her website at The Digital Inkwell.

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