When you complain, it is vital to keep a paper trail.

A good complainer is one who is organised. One reason not to complain in person or by telephone is that this approach does not give you a clear record of what you have complained about and what the response has been. A follow up is therefore much more difficult.

  • Complaining by email not only has the advantage of both speed, it creates a clear and undeniable record of what has happened and when. If you lodge your complaint on say 1st June and nothing happens, it is much easier to chase the company concerned by reference to a precise date and time. Your email of 14th June can state categorically that you filed a complaint two weeks earlier but have received no response. It is a good idea to attach the earlier email to make life easier for the person dealing with your issue.
  • If you can complain the old-fashioned way by snail mail letter the same principles apply. Keep a copy of your letter – at least on your computer but ideally backed up as hard copy. If your printer does not double up as a copier and you do not have access to an office photocopier your local newsagent will usually oblige. It is particularly important to keep copies of any vital documents that bear out your complaint whether this be an invoice, a photograph or a brochure. When you subsequently fire off a chaser letter, attach a hard copy of the original for ease of reference.
  • Keeping a good paper trail (whether this involves real paper or the digital equivalent) is also important if you wish to escalate your complaint. If you have not received any joy by writing to say the Area Manager and want to write to say the Chief Executive your further letter or email will have much more impact and will be far more effective if it describes in detail the ineptitude and lack of progress that you have encountered further down the food chain. When you go to the top name names, specify dates and point out the history of how your complaint has been ignored or dismissed. To do this you need to have the facts and the documents at your finger tips. A wishy washy moan does not compare to a carefully constructed crusade.