If you have ever paid good money and received an inferior product or poor service in return, then it’s very likely that you have felt cheated or robbed.
In these situations, it’s perfectly understandable to feel that way but the best way to deal with the situation is not to take out your anger and frustration on the wrong people but to write a complaint letter about the matter and address it to the proper authorities.
Writing a complaint letter is not something that should be done hastily. These letters require careful thought because they have to be written in a professional and respectful manner. You may be livid about the situation but you also have to keep in mind that the person who will be reading your letter probably has no idea about the problem and may not be responsible for the mistake at all.
So what are the fundamental characteristics of a good complaint letter? The following list should serve as a very useful guide.
- It should be concise. Letters that are short and to the point are most likely to be read and clearly understood than those that ramble for several paragraphs (or pages) before addressing the main point. Don’t mince words when writing complaint letters. Use simple sentence structures and stay away from the big words. Start with a brief introduction, then relay the facts of the matter, then state what you want to happen. If additional information or documents need to be sent as well, do so in an attachment and do not talk about them in detail in the body of your letter.
- It should be authoritative. This is particularly important for grave complaints or matters with severe financial implications. Your letter should reflect professionalism and intelligence. You can do this by using a well thought out layout of your text and making sure that all your facts have been verified. If you have a letterhead, it would be a good idea to use it because it will add to your credibility.
- It must be factual. Dates, names, brands, serial numbers and other relevant information should all be included in the complaint letter. Not only will this make your letter more credible but it will also expedite the rectification of the matter because the managers won’t have to waste time searching for the facts.
- It must be constructive. Some people write complaint letters that are too harsh and accusatory. No matter how peeved you may be at what had happened or at what you had received, it is recommended that you add a positive tone to your letter by being constructive. Perhaps you can make suggestions towards the end on how to prevent the same mistakes from happening in the future. Such complaint letters are more likely to elicit a positive response.
- It has to be complimentary. Again, people usually respond better to a friendly tone than an angry one so in addition to making positive suggestions, you can think of something nice to say when ending your complaint letter. Maybe you can mention that you had been a loyal customer for years because of their normally excellent service, and so on. If you can’t think of anything nice to say, just use a friendly tone. Let them know that you understand that mistakes do happen and that you are not directing blame on anyone but that you just want to resolve the matter in an appropriate manner.
Complaint letters are usually sent to the customer services division of a company’s head office, especially if the company is quite large. They have people there who can deal with the matter efficiently. Of course, it is also a good idea to send copies of the letter to the branch manager and even to the CEO if you want to get immediate action.