Most of us really do not like to write letters of complaint. And why should we?
After all, the reason that we are writing the letter is because we received poor service, bad products, and/or ill (or unfair)
treatment. We have already been harmed in some way, and on top of that, we have to take the time and effort to write a letter
to try to persuade the offender to do something to right the wrong.
if we have to write the letter, then we want it to lead to the desired results. The following suggestions will help you create
a complaint letter that is more likely to be read and might assist you in getting your problem solved.
Address your letter to the appropriate person
Suggestions for Writing an Effective Complaint Letter
If possible, get the name and title of the appropriate person in the customer service department, consumer affairs
department, or corporate office. If it is a small business, then address the letter to the owner of the business. Many large
retailers and corporations provide forms on their web sites that consumers can use to ask questions or discuss various topics
including complaints. In this case, it is not really necessary to address the complaint to a particular person.
Keep your letter as short as possible
Of course, you must explain the situation and state your grievances. But creating a concise (to the point) letter
that is not too wordy or includes information that is not pertinent to the complaint will help you keep the word or page count
down. If the letter is too long, it is less likely that it will be read from beginning to end. What is a suitable page length?
In most instances, a one to two page letter is appropriate; the shorter the letter, the better.
Do not write an emotionally “over-the-top” letter
When we are wronged or feel that we were wronged in some way, it is angering and hurtful. The
experience may even have been embarrassing or humiliating. It may also have cost us time, business, and money or caused us
to miss out on an important opportunity. So we may have every right to feel anger, hurt, or insulted, but, when writing the
complaint letter, we do not want to appear too emotional. Why? We want to be taken seriously. No matter how justified in our
feelings we might be, we want the reader to help us with our problems. Therefore, we do not want them to tune us out.
I am not suggesting that we write letters that are ultra pleasant, but calmly stating the facts
and our feelings/thoughts about the situation is a better approach. Writing a letter that is insulting, rude, threatening,
demeaning, or sarcastic might not lead to the desired outcome. Listed below are examples of calm and more emotional sentences
that might be included in a complaint letter.
Calm: “I am disappointed with the service that I received.”
“Your ridiculous company has the worst customer service in the history of customer service.”
Calm: “I felt insulted by what the sales associated said.”
Aggressive: “Your lousy sales associate really pissed me off.”
Calm: “I am angry that the vacuum
cleaner stopped working after one week of use.”
Aggressive: “How dare you sell me a piece of junk
that did not even last a week? What a rip off!”
Calm: “The inconvenience that this has caused me is aggravating.”
“Your incompetent company has inconvenienced me and really ticked me off. What is your problem?”
Use a traditional business letter format to write the complaint letter
Letters that are submitted in hard copy form should be created using a standard business
format. It should also be typewritten, if possible. This will give the letter a professional appearance and help it to be
Complaint Letter Content
Describe the complaint
complaint letter should begin with a description of the problem. This includes providing all of the relevant details such
as date and time that the issue occurred, location, names of employees involved, and product/service description. Provide
all of the important details about what happened. Some would advise you not to include your emotions in the letter. But as
I mentioned above, if you feel that you have been unfairly treated, misled, spoken to in a rude manner, or experienced some
other kind of mistreatment, then the business should know that. After all, they want to retain customers not run them away.
So, if you feel the need to discuss your feelings about the matter, then do so in a calm manner.
Discuss what you would like to happen to remedy the problem
If there is a desired solution to the problem, then ask for it (e.g., receive an apology,
replace a product, receive a refund, or make an exchange).
the reader for their time and consideration
It is a good idea
to end the letter on a pleasant note by thanking the person for reading your letter and helping you resolve the issue.
Provide contact information
If you want a response to your letter, be sure to clearly list your contact information including your address, phone
number, and e-mail address.
Other Important Considerations
there are records such as receipts, warranties, or business policies that support your argument, then be sure to include them
with your complaint letter. Not only are these documents evidence but they also show that you are serious and knowledgeable.
Keep good records
It is important to keep accurate records of all of your contact with the company including the complaint letter and
supporting documents. These materials will help you prove your case, and provide documentation if you decide to take your
complaint to a consumer advocacy group, government agency, or attorney – if it comes to that.
The Goal is to Create a Letter that is Taken Seriously
Writing a complaint letter is truly a hassle, but these tips can make it a little easier
and help you create a letter that will be taken seriously and lead to the desired solution.
Copyright © 2011 Katherine Williams