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Effectively apologising to customers

Posted on January 20, 2016 by admin

Quite often, the words ‘I’m sorry’ aren’t enough for an unsatisfied customer. Whether it is because you had to deny a request, made a mistake with an order or left a customer waiting to be served for too long, there will always a time when a business will need to apologise to their customer.

While it might seem tricky trying to find the right way to apologise to a customer, businesses should always remember that apologies are key to showing a business’s commitment to meeting their needs and satisfying their requests.

So instead of coming off as insincere with just an ‘I’m sorry’, here are some tips for delivering a genuine apology to a disgruntled customer:

Businesses need to be able to recognise the kind of language that conveys regret and remorse, and the kind that can turn an apology into a dismissal or condescension. Before apologising to a customer, make sure the words you use have any hint of defensiveness. Being testy or on edge can also make your apology come across as a non-apology.

Actively listening to a customer’s problem can help businesses come up with a good apology. It helps businesses understand exactly why they are issuing an apology. Customers are more likely to accept an apology if they believe that their struggle has been truly understood.

Sometimes what you are apologising for isn’t necessarily your fault. But if you’re the person who is representing as the face of a business, the blame will need to go somewhere. Apologise on behalf of your team and acknowledge where things went wrong. Taking responsibility shows customers that their issue hasn’t been taken lightly.

If a customer wants to know why something went wrong, the business must be able to tell them why. However, businesses also need to cushion an explanation with adequate measures of blame, e.g. “Your problem happened because of X. However, this is no reason why you had to wait for so long.”

Tell the customer what comes next or what options are available. Customers want to know that the business will actually make things right again.

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Avoiding mortgage default

Posted on August 26, 2020 by admin

As individuals struggle with cash flow through the coronavirus, the Australian Bankers Association records that repayments on almost 500,000 mortgages have been deferred for six months. While repayments can be delayed, they cannot be avoided altogether.

Lenders can send you a default notice the day your repayment is overdue. However, they could also wait until your repayment is overdue by 90 or more days. When you receive a default notice, you are given 30 days to repay the amounts you have missed in addition to the regular repayment on your loan. Individuals who are struggling with their home loan repayments can avoid mortgage default by considering the following.

Contact your lender
Lenders are generally willing to work with you through financial hardship. Don’t be afraid to contact your lender to discuss your situation and find out what options are available for you. Lenders are often willing to negotiate short-term variations to repayment schedules that both parties can agree to. However, make sure that you do not agree to unrealistic repayment conditions that cannot be met.

Many Australian banks are offering a six-month deferral on mortgage repayments (including interest) for customers who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. If this is you, contact your bank to see if this is an option.

Apply for a hardship variation
Mortgage holders may be able to change the terms of their loan or temporarily pause or reduce their repayments under a hardship variation. A hardship variation can still be requested after you receive a mortgage default. To apply for one, contact your lender’s “hardship officer” and tell them that you wish to change your loan repayments due to financial hardship. This will usually require you to explain why you are struggling to make payments and to estimate how long your financial problems will continue to determine how much you can afford to repay.

After submitting a hardship variation request, your lender must contact you within 21 days with the outcome of your request. They may ask you for more details regarding your request; in this case, they must contact you again within 21 days from when you provide the additional information.

Consider selling your home
Selling your home is a tough decision, but in some cases this may be the better option if your circumstances are unlikely to improve. If you get to the point where your lender takes possession of your home and sells it, it’s likely that you won’t make as much as if you sold it yourself. When you sell your house on your own terms, chances are you will get a better price and avoid having to pay the legal fees passed on by your lender. Inform your lender if you decide to sell your home; they may ask for proof, such as a copy of the contract with your real estate agent or property advertisements.

Renting out your home until you can afford to make repayments again may also be an option if you are able to live somewhere else during this period.

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