First stage to complaining
1) Act quickly. Don’t waste weeks moaning, complain that day but remember to ensure you are calm if complaining in person or on the ‘phone!
2) Ensure your grievance is valid. Don’t waste your time sending pointless correspondence with little weight it won’t get you anywhere. They need to know that you are serious.
3) Always try and obtain the name(s) of anyone you are complaining about, who gave you advice, wrote to you etc.
4) Write don’t phone. This gives you your evidence trail.
Use the telephone if you are comfortable doing this. Some people prefer this finding it easier. But I rarely do this and always refuse if a ‘phone call is offered. This is because I get heated (raise your voice and you’ve lost), there is no record for future use, no proof of what was said and you’ll forget something! Emails/letters provide time to reflect, ensure you don’t forget anything and provide you with a record of correspondence which cannot be denied.
If you do ‘phone ensure that you get the full name of the person with whom you are talking. Why you should write not ‘phone to complain effectively for more on this.
How to make an effective complaint
5) Always try to sort things out through Customer Services/the Manager first. If you are still not happy, then go to the CEO. You’ll find the details of CEOs at ceoemail.com. See How to contact CEOs for more. You have more reason to go to the top if you have a complaint which has already been poorly dealt with than if you go straight there.
6) Always be polite. Remember that the people you are dealing with are not the people who have annoyed you and they are more likely to respond positively if you are polite. I am tempted to be sarcastic in nearly every letter I send but rarely does the complaint warrant it. Only use it after careful consideration and if it adds some humour. Never swear! Be rude and they can understandably refuse to deal with you.
7) Be objective, don’t accuse and insult with phrases such as “…she was stupid,” use words and phrases like “…it appeared to me that…” Do however state facts.
8) Always point out what a good customer you are and how you have always found the company to be really good in the past etc. Show them they don’t want to lose you as a customer.
Write a complaint email that will get results
9) Describe events, bullet points are useful and make it very clear, especially when dates are involved. If the complaint is long, summarise the points (e.g. 10 phone calls, 2 visits, 2 letters, wrong information etc.)
10) Send copies where appropriate. For example, if a faulty washing machine has destroyed some clothes, send pictures of the clothes.
11) Use reference numbers where appropriate, make it easy for them to find your case.
12) Use good English! Poor grammar and spelling shows you in as poor a light as the company to which you are complaining. You also won’t be taken seriously and anything you have to say will be taken with a pinch of salt if you can’t get your own house in order! If English isn’t your strong point get someone to read through your email before you send it.
13) Be formal. Use “Yours sincerely” when you know the person’s name and “Yours faithfully” when Dear Sir or Madam. No “love” froms! (I’ve seen it!)