Ten Tips for Writing a Complaint Letter

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Thinking about writing a complaint letter about poor customer service or a product that was not the quality you expected? Use these tips to complain effectively so the company in question can resolve your problem quickly.

Most businesses consider a complaint letter to be an important part of doing business. It gives them information that could help with future employee training or product packaging. Giving feedback is an essential to companies who want to keep your business.

Writing an email is just as effective as a hand written letter and usually gets a faster response. Keep a copy of your letter for future reference.

How to Write a Complaint Letter

No Yelling: Think before you type. Sending an angry letter to complain about a product or service is similar to yelling. It resolves nothing.

Back it Up: If you are dissatisfied with service you have received or the quality of a product, it is very important to have all of your facts prepared prior to writing a letter or sending an email. Keep receipts, packaging and the names of people who were helpful –as well as those who were not.

No Whining: It is important that you do not start your letter out with a complaint. The person reading your letter will sympathize with you if you do not start out with accusations. Keep in mind, the problem you are writing about is not usually the fault of the person you are writing to.  Don’t push ‘send’ too quickly! Write the letter when you’re not steaming mad. Edit. Edit. Edit.

Start Writing: Start your complaint letter with the time and date the problem occurred (or when you tried the product you are writing about). You may want to mention that you have visited the place of business before or tried the product previously with no problems. This engages the reader and makes them want to help you, keep you as a customer and resolve the issue as soon as possible.

Get Specific: If you have specific complaints such as an employee who was disrespectful or a product that was of poor quality, state the facts as specifically as you can.

Complaints about service at a retail store or restaurant are best approached by giving as much detailed information as possible. If you do not know the names of the people who were involved, provide as much description as possible. Receipts, time of day, location you were sitting and all pertinent information that will help are necessary. It is not enough to say “the woman who took our order was rude”. Details are very important.

If the complaint is about a product, mention the place you purchased it. In addition, give any information you have from a receipt or a UPC code from the package. Save all receipts and packaging in case the company needs this.

Watch Your Mouth: Do not use profanity in your letter. You want to remain as factual as possible so the complaint can be rectified. You may be angry, but swearing may indicate to the company that you’re a hot-head and caused the problem to begin with.

Find the Right Contact: If you are not sure who to write to, most companies have websites on the Internet. Search the site to find a “contact us” or customer service address.

Try Facebook and Twitter: Social media is another resource. Check the company’s Facebook page or Twitter account for customer service information.

Leave a comment on the Facebook wall or on Twitter to see if you can get contact information, but leave the “I hate your company” out of it. It’s not easy to be cool when you’re mad, but an inquiry like “I need to contact your customer service department. Who should I write to?” is going to get you  a faster response than if you post, “Your store sucks.”

If your complaint is to a local restaurant or store, call and ask for the name of the manager or owner. Ask if there is an email address available, if not just type it up and mail it to the store/restaurant. Keep a copy.

Wrap it Up: Close your letter with information about yourself including your full name, address and telephone number. Providing an email address will often get you a speedier response.

Ask for a Response: Otherwise known as a “call to action”, tell the company what you want — a refund, replacement or perhaps just an apology. Expect to get one within thirty days, but don’t be surprised if you receive one sooner. Customer service is an important part of all businesses so the sooner they reply to you, the more likely you will be to do business with them again.

Most problems are resolved quickly by many businesses. When you write a factual, not furious, complain letter, you will get results.

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