How to Complain with the Perfect Letter of Complaint
I have always been a great believer that there is much still left in power of the pen when it comes to registering a complaint. A good letter of complaint will attract the attention of the reader and have some impact. So what are my top 10 tips when aiming to write the perfect letter of complaint?
- Go to the top. Address your complaint by name to someone at the top of the organisation. The Chief Executive is not a bad target but feel free to pick on anyone you like – the Finance Director has probably got a really boring in-tray so why not try him for a change?
- Keep your letter short and to the point. An eighteen page rambling essay will simply bore person reading it. One page should suffice – with attachments if it is complex.
- Make your letter different so that it stands out from the rest – I have written many poems of complaint in my time and even had replies in verse.
- Employ humour. If you can engage in a one-to-one dialogue with a real human being, you are far more likely to gain and sustain their interest in your grievance.
- Do not be abusive. Tempting though it is to get nasty, it is always best to refrain from a neanderthal approach to complaining.
- Do not waste your time on the telephone to the Customer Services Department (ie. the Complaints Department that never bears its true name)…unless of course you like listening to Vivaldi and like being passed from pillar to post.
- Enclose any relevant evidence – if you were on holiday and cockroaches were crawling around your villa, take photos and enclose them with your letter. That is always good from grabbing the attention of the Managing Director.
- Make sure that your facts are correct and complete. Do not be tempted to embellish your story – stick to the demonstrable truth and supply the company with all relevant particulars such as dates, reference numbers, amounts and so on.
- Keep your demand open-ended as the response way well exceed your expectations. Good companies value their customers and will often go the extra mile to retain their goodwill.
- Don’t give up at the first sign of resistance. The first letter back may well tell you to go to hell but it is sometimes necessary to fight a war of attrition and grind the b@st@rds down.