Writing an effective complaint letter requires clarity. To get the attention of the right people in the business, contact the customer affairs department of the office of the senior executive. Be clear about the issue and provide any supporting detail or documentation. In addition, state what you would like the company to do to compensate you for the problem experienced. While companies receive many complaint letters, let yours stand out by staying professional and on point.
Write down the names of everyone you spoke with, the date, time and location of the incident. If you bought a faulty product, either from a store or online, record the date and location of the purchase, the manufacturer, serial number (if applicable) and the specific complaint. If you receive poor service from a company hired to do work for you, use a copy of the signed work agreement or contract.
Find out the name of the president, CEO, or owner of the company to whom you are complaining. Most websites have a generic complaint form that will be sent to a customer service representative, but you want to go above that for any results. Use the company's website to get the address and name of the executive team.
Use a clear and professional tone to describe exactly what happened to make you upset. Use strong descriptive words to make the reader feel what you felt, but remember to remain polite throughout the letter.
Explain what you wish had gone differently with the incident of complaint. For example, greater clarity of the seat-bumping policy on an airline, better explanation of options or timeliness of delivery.
Make a specific request. If you want a refund, request it. If an employee was rude, request reprimand and re-training. If you would like a replacement product, be clear and direct.
State your next actions, if any. If you are making a formal complaint, give the company a timeframe by which they need to resolve your complaint or you will report it to a consumer protection agency or attorney, if necessary.
Close by thanking the reader for his attention and providing your full contact information.
Address the envelope directly to the president or CEO and mark "Personal and Confidential." This ensures that that she will actually receive the letter, and it will not be intercepted by an assistant without the authority to help you.
Send the letter via certified mail and request a receipt to know that the intended person actually receives it. Response time varies, but it's reasonable to wait for one month.
Swearing, using slang or writing derogatory comments about the person or company who wronged you will only make you seem ignorant and rude. To be taken seriously, you need to remain courteous.
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images