Here are simple tips, templates and examples for writing good complaints letters. This approach to complaints letter-writing is effective for private consumers and for business-to-business customers who seek positive outcomes from writing letters of complaint. The principles apply to complaints emails and phone calls too, although letters remain generally the most reliable and effective way to complain, especially for serious complaints.
Effective complaints letters (and any other way of complaining) should be:
Imagine you are the person receiving customers' letters of complaints. This helps you realise that the person reading your letter is a real human being with feelings, trying to do their job to the best of their abilities. Your letter should encourage them to respond positively and helpfully to the complaint. No matter how mad you feel, aggression and confrontation does not encourage a helpful reaction to complaints.
Good complaints letters with the above features tend to produce better outcomes:
· Concise letters can be understood quickly.
· Authoritative letters - letters that are well written and professionally presented - have more credibility and are taken more seriously.
· Factual letters enable the reader to see immediately the relevant details, dates, requirements, etc., and to justify action to resolve the complaint.
· Constructive letters - with positive statements, suggesting positive actions - encourage action and quicker decisions.
· Friendly letters - with a considerate, cooperative and complimentary tone - are prioritised because the reader responds positively to the writer and wants to help.
These complaints methods are based on cooperation, relationships, constructive problem-solving, and are therefore transferable to phone and face-to-face complaints.
constructive letters and suggestions make complaints easier to resolve
Accentuate the positive wherever possible. This means presenting things in a positive light. Dealing with a whole load of negative statements is not easy for anyone, especially customer service staff, who'll be dealing with mostly negative and critical communication all day. Be different by being positive and constructive. State the facts and then suggest what needs to be done to resolve matters. If the situation is complex, suggest that you'll be as flexible as you can in helping to arrive at a positive outcome. Say that you'd like to find a way forward, rather than terminate the relationship. If you tell them that you're taking your business elsewhere, and that you're never using them again, etc., then there's little incentive for them to look for a good outcome. If you give a very negative, final, 'unsavable' impression, they'll treat you accordingly. Suppliers of all sorts work harder for people who stay loyal and are prepared to work through difficulties, rather than jump ship whenever there's a problem. Many suppliers and organizations actually welcome complaints as opportunities to improve (which they should do) - if yours does, or can be persuaded to take this view, it's very well worth sticking with them and helping them to find a solution. So it helps to be seen as a positive and constructive customer rather than a negative, critical one. It helps for your complaint to be seen as an opportunity to improve things, rather than an arena for confrontation and divorce.
Complaint letters aren't always fun, but sometimes they need to be written. In many cases, if people don't complain, the problem agency at fault (i.e. company or government) won't even know that the problem you and others may have experienced, even exists.
Ultimately, legitimate complaints, by even a few people, can (and often do) result in better service for everybody. Not only that, writing them can be personally beneficial 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 and in the mail, one can "let it go" knowing that one has done something tangible and constructive about the situation.
Write a letter of complaint if you have paid for goods or services that did not come up to your expectations. When you write a letter of complaint, remember these writing tips.
- be factual and precise. Say exactly what the problem is, and how it is contrary to your expectations.
- don't use sarcasm or emotional language. Use a neutral rather than angry tone.
- be clear about what you want to happen. State how much compensation you want.
- be polite and avoid threats unless you want to take legal action.
317 Orchard Road
4 January 2011
Attn: Mr David Choi
171 Choi Hung Road
Dear Mr Choi
Re. Order No. 768197
I am writing to inform you that the goods we ordered from your company have not been supplied correctly.
On 28 December 2010 we placed an order with your firm for 12,000 ultra super long-life batteries. The consignment arrived yesterday but contained only 1,200 batteries.
This error put our firm in a difficult position, as we had to make some emergency purchases to fulfil our commitments to all our customers. This caused us considerable inconvenience.
I am writing to ask you to please make up the shortfall immediately and to ensure that such errors do not happen again. Otherwise, we may have to look elsewhere for our supplies.
I look forward to hearing from you by return.
J. Wong (Purchasing Officer)
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