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Office German 2: Customer Complaints Posted by on Aug 28, 2017 in Language, Uncategorized

A few years ago I worked in an office as a German language assistant. During that time I read and wrote a lot of emails in German and learnt how to write in a more ‘business-friendly’ way. Now I’d like to share some more of that business German with you here (I began this series with my post on shipping & addresses).

Office life...

Office German: Customer Complaints. Photo: eyloni on flickr.com under a CC license (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This post is on dealing with customer complaints. I hope it will be of use to those of you working in, or hoping to work in, Germany, or with the German market (but it may also be useful if you ever receive a customer service email in German!). Please bear in mind that my experience is with business-to-customer relations and was only via email (not phone), so the phrases I give here will reflect that. However, there is no reason why they can’t be tailored to business-to-business relations and used on the telephone, too. As always, leave a comment if you’d like to know something specific. 🙂 Let’s get started!

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Office/business German: Dealing with customer complaints

The complaint: Die Beschwerde

The apology: Die Entschuldigung

The solution: Die Lösung

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Firstly, here are some of the things you may read in a complaint email/letter:

Ich muss mich beschweren – I need to complain

Ich bin sehr verärgert – I am very angry

Ich will meine Bestellung stornieren – I want to cancel my order

Ich will mein Geld zurück/Ich will eine Rückzahlung – I want my money back/I want a refund

Ich bin mit dem Service nicht zufrieden – I am not happy with the service

Ich warte auf eine Entschuldigung – I am waiting for an apology

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Now, here are some handy phrases you may use when replying to customers. You may find it useful to view these as ‘stock phrases’ if you’re not fully fluent in German. They will help you to construct a polite and professional email/letter.

Wir bitten um Entschuldigung
Please accept our apologies

Wir entschuldigen uns für die Unannehmlichkeiten
We apologise for the inconvenience

Wir verstehen Ihr Problem
We understand your problem

Wir danken Ihnen, daß Sie uns darauf aufmerksam gemacht haben
We thank you for bringing this to our attention

Aufgrund von unvorhergesehenen Umständen
Due to unforseen circumstances

Unter den Vertragsbedingungen
According to the terms of the contract

Wir versuchen das Problem so schnell wie möglich zu lösen
We will try to rectify this problem as soon as possible

Bitte geben Sie mir/uns genaue Informationen zur Sachlage
Please provide me/us with exact details of the situation at hand

Versuchen wir, zu einer Übereinkunft zu kommen
Let us try to come to an agreement/compromise

Wir wären Ihnen dankbar, wenn Sie … könnten
We would be thankful if you could …

Könnten Sie bitte … bestätigen?
Could you please confirm…?

Vielen Dank für Ihre Geduld und Ihr Verständnis
We thank you for your patience and understanding

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Remember to always use the formal address (‘Sie’), even if the customer is using the informal ‘du’. For more information on Sie and du and how to use them, check out our posts here and here.

For my previous post in this series – addresses & shipping – click here.

And keep your eyes peeled for more office German posts from me!

Bis bald!

Constanze

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About the Author:Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze. I'm half English and half German. I write here because I'm passionate about my languages and my roots. I also work as a translator & group fitness instructor.