10 Secrets For Writing Killer Complaint Letters
Complaint letters aren't always fun, but sometimes they needto be written. In many cases, if people don't complain, the problem agency at fault (i.e. company or government) won'teven know that the problem that you and others may haveexperienced even exists.
Ultimately, legitimate complaints, by even a few people,can (and often do) result in better service for everybody.Not only that, writing complaint letters can be personallybeneficial too!
That's right. Writing complaint letters can be an empowering and therapeutic experience! It allows one to take action instead of playing the role of a victim and "nursing" an ongoing resentment towards a company about poor service or treatment received. Once the complaint letter is written andin the mail one can "let it go" knowing that one has donesomething tangible and constructive about the situation.
Not only that, but properly written and handled complaint letters get action!
After I started writing complaint letters, I began receiving gracious letters of apology and contrition from senior executives including bank vice-presidents and VPs of marketing for giant corporations.
Getting those in the mail, felt one heck of a lot betterthan "polishing" an ongoing resentment and getting evenangrier the next time something bad happened. Sometimes Ieven get discount coupons and free merchandise!
THE 10 SECRETS
Here are some strategies I have learned for writingcomplaint letters guaranteed to get attention and action.
1. Write To The Senior Person Responsible
It is important that you get the name and detailed mailing address of a very senior person responsible for the productor service that you are complaining about. I generally tryto write to the V.-P. level. Never go below Director levelif you want a serious response. Name and address informationcan be obtained from the organization's Web site or bycalling the company and asking for the name and title ofthe senior person who you should write to.
2. Don't Send An E-Mail
When it comes to sending a serious complaint letter to acompany or the government, don't send an e-mail, regardlessof what it may say on their Web site. E-mails are usuallyhandled dismissively by low level "customer service" people.If you want serious attention and action, the formal writtencomplaint letter is the only way to go. When it arrives inthe VP's office (yes, by snail mail!), it triggers abureaucratic process that ensures that the right peoplewill see your letter, and will act on it.
3. Keep It As Short As Possible
Preferably no longer than one page, two at the most. When drafting a complaint letter there can be a tendency to goon and on just to make sure the recipient gets the point.Keep it as short as possible, but without diluting the factsof your message too much.
4. Give It A Heading For Identification
Place a heading at the top of the letter with informationthat the company or agency will relate to, such as youraccount number or customer number. Make it easy for themto find you on their computer filing system.
5. Clearly Explain The Situation
Make sure that you give all of the specific details neededso that the company or agency can verify your claim withoutyou having to get into an endless game of telephone tag withthem. Include specific dates, times and places, as well asthe names of people you dealt with. If you're not sure ofthese details when composing the letter, call them back andask for the specifics. (You don't have to say it's for acomplaint letter).
6. Use A Positive And Respectful Tone
I have found that the best approach is to use a positiveupbeat tone. Remember, you are writing to a senior personwho probably sympathizes with what happened to you. Yourtone should convey the message that you are the innocentvictim and you understand that the company wouldn't havedone such a thing deliberately.
7. Send Copies If Appropriate
There can be cases where it is wise to send a copy of the letter to other parties just to make sure that you will get some serious action. For example, in a case where you havebeen told to write to the Regional Manager of a program, itis often a good idea to make sure that someone in headoffice also gets a copy. I sometimes send a copy to customerservice or customer relations offices at the national level.
8. "Shame" Them As Much As Possible
Companies that claim and advertise high levels of customer focus and service do not like to be criticized in thoseareas. If you have a strong case that makes them vulnerablein one of these areas, use as much ammunition as you can toembarrass them in these sensitive areas. Modern marketingterms such as: customer relationship management (CRM),one-to-one marketing, most valuable customer (MVC), andcustomer-centric focus, all tend to get their attention.Also, using such terms makes you sound like an authority.
9. Imply You Might Take Your Business Elsewhere
I always do this near the closing. Companies don't like tolose customers, especially long-time customers. Seniormarketing people are well aware that study after study hasshown that it costs five to seven times as much to recruita new customer as it does to hold on to an existing one.
10. Ask For An Early Reply
In the closing paragraph of your complaint letter, state specifically that you are expecting an early reply. Makesure that you follow-up by phone or e-mail if you haveheard nothing in three weeks. Some companies will send youan acknowledgement letter stating that they are working onyour case and will get back to you within a week or two.
Use the above strategies and you are sure to get actionfrom your complaint letters. And, don't forget the oldtruism "the squeaky wheel gets the grease"!
To see a fully-formatted "real-life template" of a letterof complaint, go to the following link:
© 2005 by Shaun Fawcett
Shaun Fawcett, is webmaster of the popular writing help siteWritingHelp-Central.com. He is also the author of severalbest selling "writing toolkit" eBooks. All of his eBooks andhis internationally acclaimed f-r-e-e course, "Tips and TricksFor Writing Success" are available at his writing tools site:http://www.writinghelptools.com
Win More Clients, Projects and Freelance Jobs By Making Three Small Changes
Iā??ve spoken to hundreds of editors, employers, and project managers about how they choose a freelancer for a job. Whether they were reviewing job applications or considering project bids, they all had one thing in common.
Need a Book Coach, Ghost Writer, or Editor? Part 2
If you either want to write a book to help others create a better life and boost business or you already have your book nearly finished, you may need book coaching to answer all of your questions "What step to take next?"Know Your Editing ChoicesLine editing. Use this final professional edit after you have already revised your work three times.
How I Became a Syndicated Columnist -- And You Can Too!
Real Estate has "Location, location, location," and writing has "Clips, clips, clips."When people ask me how I became a syndicated columnist, I usually say, "it just snowballed.
You Cant Always Believe What You See On Your Computer Screen
You may not remember this, but in the early days of the personal computer, many industry insiders were predicting a paperless society.Of course, this hasn't happened.
Writers Turn to the Internet for Support, Friendship and Advice
Riding on the fumes of potential, you take pen to paper or keyboard to monitor. Endless hours of creativity intermingle with apprehension, but your need to write engulfs your spirit.
Common Writing Mistakes - Are These Holding You Back From Writing Success?
During the years that I've been teaching writing and participating in writers' critique sessions, I've seen some real talent. There are writers who produce such sparkling prose that you know publication is only a matter of time.
The Power of Punctuation
Punctuation, when used creatively, is powerful. Note, however, that when I say 'when used creatively', I don't mean that you can make up the rules.
Im Just The Writer
Writers are often are greatly surprised or disappointed by how their work is changed when it is adapted for the big screen. When Irwin Shaw's World War II novel The Young Lions was shot in Paris in 1958, the Nazi character was played by Marlon Brando.
Why We Dont Write Our Books
In the ten years that I've taught people how to get on with their books, I've noticed a phenomenon that I'll call "Author's Block." Would-be writers can, indeed, sit down and work when pressed to it.
How to Break In and Succeed as a Screenwriter
Screenwriting is a competitive trade. To distinguish yourself as a prize-winning writer you need to master organizational skills, take creative risks, and learn how best to present your final product.
To Outline Or Not To Outline
Ah, the age-old writer's debate--to outline or not to outline?Outlines have proven quite effective for a lot of writers, and many of the famous stories we know and love--such as Star Wars--were outlined before they were fleshed out into a living, breathing story. (Well, metaphorically living and breathing, anyway.
Writing from Home: It Can Be Great and Not-So-Great for Mothers
I went to school to be a teacher. In fact, I have a B.
A Series of Articles on Autobiography
ESSAYS ON AUTOBIOGRAPHY: NUMBER 1Preamble:Nearly seven years ago I wrote my first essay on the nature of autobiography. It was some two years after completing my initial draft, the first edition of my own autobiography.
Three 30 Day Journaling Ideas
Here are 3 journaling or diary ideas that can contribute to, and enhance your life. You can use a notebook, The 5 Year Journal, a blank book, even a computer.
COULD YOU (not) REPEAT THAT PLEASE?
I recently read a book where everything was akimbo. Arms were akimbo, legs were akimbo.
Why I Write
I started writing as a way of keeping safe memories of a particularly adventurous 3 years of my life when I became totally addicted to the world of online chat rooms and met a number of 'gentlemen' for real that I met in fantasyland online.However after I allowed an educated friend to read my short stories, I was motivated to attempt a manuscript, and whilst it was extremely daunting to open my life up for judgement, I considered the good I could do by way of educating people on the dangers of this kind of activity far outweighed my personal discomfort.
Making Money from Freelance Writing
Making Money from Freelance WritingIt's the question that every aspiring freelancer eventually finds themselves asking: is it really possible to make money from this? The kind of money that lets you keep a roof over your head and feed your kids occasionally, that is?Well, yes, it is. But let's be honest: it's not easy.
Does Your Plot Suit Your Characters And Vice-Versa?
Creative Writing Tips -When an idea comes to us for a short story, we either think of a story line first or a character first. Whichever we think of first, and later on build, we have to make sure the plot and the character suit each other.
To Tell If You Are A Literary Snob
"I don't know if I should put 'writer' on my business card," I murmured."Then don't," my wife said in her infinite wisdom.
How To Write A Newsletter
In order to be successful with a newsletter, specialize in a subject not adequately covered in existing newsletters. A subject which you can give more, or better information on.