AI for Bad News: Crafting Clear Customer Messages with Empathy

by Jun 4, 2024

Breaking Up is Hard to Do (Especially When It’s About Service)

Let’s face it, nobody enjoys delivering bad news. Whether it’s telling your boss about a project setback or explaining to a friend you can’t make their party, those conversations can be awkward and stressful. But for businesses, delivering bad news to customers can be even trickier. Price increases, service interruptions, product delays – it can feel like you’re walking a tightrope between informing your customers and sending them running for the hills.

That’s where AI, or Artificial Intelligence, might be able to lend a hand (or should we say a digital pen?). AI-powered writing tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and some are designed specifically to help businesses craft clear, concise, and even empathetic bad news messages. Intrigued? Skeptical? Let’s break it down.

AI Can Craft Clear and Consistent Communication

Imagine having a helpful robot assistant who can analyze your situation and generate a draft message that clearly explains the bad news. This can be especially useful for complex issues or when you need to communicate the same message to a large group of customers. An AI tool can ensure your message is consistent and easy to understand, leaving less room for confusion.

Subject: Important Update Regarding [Service/Product Name]
Dear Valued Customers,

We are writing to inform you of an upcoming change to [Service/Product Name]. Effective [Date], [ Briefly explain the change in clear and concise language. Ex: “we will be discontinuing the current monthly subscription option”].

We understand this may be inconvenient for some of you, and we sincerely apologize for any disruption this may cause.

[Optional: Briefly explain the reason for the change. This could be due to improvements, cost adjustments, or external factors. Be transparent but avoid technical jargon.]

We are committed to providing you with the best possible service/products. [ Briefly outline any alternative solutions or options available to customers in light of the change. Ex: “We are introducing a new annual subscription plan with significant cost savings.”]

In the meantime, [ Briefly explain what customers can do to prepare for the change. Ex: “current monthly subscriptions will continue until their next billing cycle”].

We appreciate your understanding and continued support. For more information about this change, please visit our [FAQ page/Help Center article URL] or contact our customer service team at [Phone number] or [Email address].


The [Your company name] Team

This message was generated using Google Gemini.

Finding the Right Tone

Sure, AI can’t magically make a price increase sound exciting, but it can help you strike the right balance between professionalism and empathy. AI writing assistants can analyze sentiment and suggest informative language without being overly harsh.

Subject: Important Update Regarding [Product/Service] Pricing
Dear Valued Customers,

We’re writing to inform you of an upcoming adjustment to the pricing of our [Product/Service name] offerings, effective [Date]. We understand that price changes can be disruptive, and we want to be transparent about this decision.

Since [ Briefly explain the reason for the price increase in a clear and empathetic way. Ex: “launching our service” or “providing ongoing improvements and new features”], our costs have also increased. To ensure we can continue delivering the high-quality [Product/Service name] you rely on, a price adjustment is necessary.

The new pricing structure will be reflected on [Date] and can be found on our website [Link to pricing page]. We understand this may impact your budget, and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience it may cause.

We remain committed to delivering exceptional value. [ Briefly explain any additional benefits or features customers will receive with the price increase. Ex: “We’ll be rolling out exciting new features…” or “This will allow us to invest in….” ]

We appreciate your understanding and continued support. If you have any questions or concerns about this price change, please don’t hesitate to contact our customer service team at [Phone number] or [Email address]. We’re happy to address any inquiries you may have.

Thank you for being a valued customer.


The [Your company name] Team

This message was generated using Google Gemini.

Saving You Precious Time

Let’s be honest, writing bad news messages isn’t exactly the best use of your time. AI tools can help you draft messages quickly and efficiently, freeing you up to focus on other important tasks like addressing customer concerns or strategizing how to communicate the change internally. The message you just read, “Subject: Important Update Regarding [Product/Service] Pricing,” was generated by Google Gemini in under a minute. This allows you to review, personalize, and send the message with minimal time investment.

But Here’s the Catch (There’s Always a Catch)

While AI can be a helpful tool, it shouldn’t replace the human touch entirely. Here’s why:

  • The Sincerity Factor – No matter how advanced AI gets, it can’t replicate genuine human empathy. A heartfelt apology or a personalized explanation can go a long way in smoothing things over with a customer.
  • The Nuances of Language – AI might struggle with sarcasm, humor, or other subtleties of human communication. These nuances can be important for maintaining a positive relationship with your customers.
  • The Need for Flexibility – Every situation is unique, and your response should be too. AI can provide a good starting point, but it’s important to review and personalize the message to fit the specific needs of your customers.

The Takeaway: AI as a Wingman, Not a Replacement

AI-powered writing tools can be a valuable asset for businesses when it comes to delivering bad news. They can save you time, ensure clear communication, and even help you find the right tone. But remember, AI should be a wingman, not a replacement for the human touch. By combining the efficiency of AI with your communication skills and empathy, you can navigate even the trickiest customer situations with grace (and maybe even a little understanding).

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