Complaints Letter Structure: Maximising Solutions

complaints-boxEvery time something goes wrong, most people pick up their phones and call the support number of the company that has made the mistake. However, what if the problem is too complex to be solved over phone or if you do not get the right response from the support department? These are only a couple of the many hindrances.

Another obstacle in trying to resolve a complaint via the phone is that there is no documented proof of the discussions held or even the promises made regarding the complaint. Complaint letters, however, pose no such problems even though the importance of telephonic discussions cannot be undermined. The trick to achieving success in resolving a problem is to be mindful of the complaints letter structure. Consider the following.

Getting the Basics of Complaints Letter Structure Right

Before you can delve into the ideal complaints letter structure, you must focus on certain basics that will help you write complaints letters. The impact of a complaints letter on the support department hinges on its tone. Your tone can neither be too aggressive or too polite for the former will lead to pointless antagonism while the latter will result in the complaint not being taken seriously enough. This means that you need to make sure that your tone is stern but not insulting or condescending. Here are three complaints letter samples depicting the basics.

  1. I will not brook such nonsense in the future.
  2. I request you to not do this again.
  3. I believe that such mistakes or deliberate actions are not acceptable by law and request you to prevent them from occurring again.

While the first example is too aggressive and the second to weak, the third example shows a keen understanding of the law and consumer rights as well as an acceptance that such mistakes can be made. In addition, it also makes the customer seem professional and reasonable.

Laying Out the Reason for the Complaint

complaints letter structureInformation is the backbone of any complaints letter structure. Unless you base your complaints letter on facts and descriptions of situations, the support department would not be able to come up with the right solutions. In fact, if you do not provide the right information then you can end up aggravating the situation even further and spending more time on a fruitless exercise. Therefore, in the beginning of your complaints letter, itself, you should mention the reason why you are writing the letter so that the customer care executive knows what he needs to focus on. Consider the following complaints letter examples.

  1. I am writing to bring to your attention that I am yet to receive the refund after I cancelled my air tickets well before the stipulated time of cancellation.
  2. I want to bring to your notice the highly unprofessional, poor, and rude conduct of your employees.
  3. I recently ate at your restaurant and found the food to be unhygienic enough to cause me to fall sick.

Each of these examples lays out the reason for the letter being written. The reason why such openings are important is that such complaints letter structures will allow support departments to spot the problem within the first sentence, sit up, and take notice. Effectively, you would be cutting down elements that may delay the resolution of your problem.

Providing Background

While opening will give your complaints letter structure the kind of impact you want, you will also have to provide a solid background to your request. The reason for this is that a background with detailed information would allow the support department to pinpoint your exact transaction in their records and then find a way to alleviate your concerns.

While you should not avoid including how you felt in providing your background, you should primarily focus on facts. Mentioning at what date and time the situation happened, how it happened, what the responses were, bill numbers, contract details, and other such information will facilitate the problem solving process of the business you are complaining to.

Defining Acceptable Resolution

If you are thinking about the complaints letter structure then it is likely that you have already resolved to complain to the offending business and have clear expectations of what solutions you are looking for. Defining these solutions after you have provided a background to your complaint will allow the customer care executive to realise what you are looking for. While the situation and the magnitude of your expectations will determine whether you get what you want or not, specifying them clearly will set standards that the support department will try to follow. Consider the following examples.

  1. Since it has been a month since I cancelled my tickets, I expect you to ensure that the refund is in my account as per your stipulated terms and conditions within the next few days.
  2. I expect a written apology from your firm for the way your employee behaved and the individual to be disciplined as appropriate.
  3. Owing to my illness, I have not only had to spend considerable money on medical treatment but have also been unable to proceed with my work. I expect recompense for the same.

Each of these examples shows what the customer expects the company’s customer support system to do. In different words, these examples show the company what they need to do to make their customer happy and that anything less would most probably would not be enough to resolve the case in question. Expectations also show that a customer is not willing to budge from his complaints and may even escalate them if his demands are not met.

Feeding the Carrot, Waving the Stick

The conclusion to a good complaints letter structure is the carrot and the stick. The combination of these two things will expedite the resolution of your complaint. Threatening legal action or cancellation of a contract if the problem is not resolved combined with suggesting continued ties if the problem is resolved well can really bring the best out of your complaints letter structure.