Ten Key Tips for Writing a Powerful and Effective Complaint Letter

Ten Key Tips for Writing a Powerful and Effective Complaint Letter

Nobody likes to do it; but anyone who has ever had a bad experience with a business or with a service industry, will at some point, need to know to write a complaint letter. While writing a complaint letter is never fun, it can be a therapeutic process. Furthermore, legitimate, well written complaint letters often result in attention, action and improved customer service for everyone. 

If you have had a surprising or upsetting experience that has led you research how to write a complaint letter, here are ten important tips that will make the process easier.

1)     Never write a complaint letter in an emotional or angry state of mind. For example, if a telemarketer was particularly rude to you on the phone and you really feel like yelling or screaming ? don?t! Take some time to cool down. Go for a walk, breathe deeply, and calm yourself down.  Don?t begin the task of writing a letter until you are clear-headed and calm.Harsh or rushed complaint letters written in anger will not receive the proper attention they deserve.  

2)    Make certain of who you are writing to. Get the name and mailing address of the individual directly responsible for the problem, product or poor service that you are complaining about. More often than not, the wisest move is to write a professional letter on printable business-quality letterhead to the senior person in charge. Whether that person is the company president, a store manager or a CEO. If you don?t have the mailing address, undertake internet research to locate a website, or company headquarters address. Alternatively, it is okay to call a company directly to ask for the name, title or business mailing address of the particular person you wish to direct your complaint letter to. 

3)    When you address the letter, be sure to use that individual?s specific name and title. If you can avoid it, do not begin a complaint letter with a heading such as ?To Whom It May Concern.?

4)    Keep It Short and Sweet. Explain the entire situation in a clear, concise manner. Do not embellish or tell your life story. A well written, succinct letter that pin points the key complaint will best help readers to understand the issue.  


5)    Write it as soon as you have cooled off! Don’t wait weeks. Timing is one of the most important considerations to anyone wondering how to write a complaint letter. A complaint letter loses its validity if it is written months or years after a questionable incident occurred. Furthermore, the customer service industry is known for fast turn-over of employees. If you wait more than a few weeks to send your complaint letter, there is nothing to guarantee that the specific individual you are complaining about ? or complaining to ? will still be with the company.

6)    Maintain a respectful and positive tone. Everybody makes mistakes ? corporations and businesses too. Writing a respectful complaint letter will most likely get you a respectful reply.  Avoid condemning anyone. Give the company a chance to rectify the error and earn your business as a return customer.

7)    Suggest solutions to resolve the problem. Inform the company of what they could do to rectify the situation or improve your bad experience. Be specific!  For example, ask for a refund of your purchase, a store credit, a repair or exchange. If you are requesting a refund, exchange or financial compensation, be sure to include copies of receipts, cancelled checks, contracts, warranties, guarantees, or any other pertinent documents, as well as model, product item or serial number.

8)    Write a professional letter in a business letter format. The technical aspects of format, grammar, punctuation, spelling a significant part of learning how to write a complaint letter.Typed complaint letters are best because they are easy to read.  Avoid handwritten letters that may be indecipherable to readers. Be sure to follow a formal business letter template, then proofread and spell check your letter

9)    Include an address label or your own name, address and contact information.Particularly if you are requesting a reply, a resolution or at least a negotiation, this information is critical! You may wish to provide a cell phone number, home phone number, mailing address or e-mail address.

10)    Keep a copy for your personal records, and send additional copies if need be. Be sure to maintain a copy of important complaint letters and correspondences for your own records. Or, find out if it is necessary to send multiple copies of the letter to a national office, specific branch office, or customer relations department.

These ten key steps and strategies pertaining to how to write a complaint letter will help to ensure that you get the results you are seeking.  It is important to remember, complaint letters can be some of the most effective, legitimate and powerful methods for addressing customer dissatisfaction and achieving customer satisfaction!