WRITING AN EFFECTIVE CONSUMER COMPLAINT EMAIL YIELDS RESULTS
As a consumer having a problem with a product or service can be frustrating to the point that you want to be heard.
Unfortunately, not everyone takes the opportunity to alert management or customer experience experts about their concerns.
There is a reason that almost all companies and businesses have a complaints department and that’s to improve customer service.
On top of that, any business owner wants to know what’s happening on the front line if they are not adhering to company policy.
In-Store Customer Complaint Example
An example of an in-person customer complaint would be the Scanning Code Of Practice (SCOP) in Canada.
Although this is not a personal complaint against an employee or the way they handle business it’s about a product.
The good thing about SCOP is that it is dealt with immediately and the customer goes on his/her way.
However, if you are not satisfied you can always send in a customer complaint email to the Competition Bureau in Canada.
You can also make a phone call to the Scanner Code Accuracy Price complaint line.
Should You Write A Consumer Complaint Email?
Not all consumer complaints are that simple which is why it’s important to understand how to write an effective consumer complaint email.
Before I even begin contemplating writing a consumer complaint email I ask myself the following questions.
- Do I have a legitimate consumer complaint?
- Do I have the documentation or information to back up my consumer complaint?
- What do I want to see happen from my consumer complaint?
- Should I call in my consumer complaint or write a consumer complaint letter?
If you’re just having a bad day and the cashier set you off because she smiled at you wrong that’s not a legitimate reason to complain.
However, if you have a product that did not meet your expectations and are struggling to get a refund then yes, a consumer complaint letter is in order.
Over the years living in Canada I have written plenty of consumer complaint emails and made plenty of phone calls.
If you asked me which is more effective, the consumer complaint phone call or the consumer complaint email, I’d say the email.
The problem I find with making a phone call to customer service is that you don’t always get what you want.
Dealing with front-line service workers who have little to no power when it comes to returns or customer complaints can be irritating.
Handling Consumer Complaints Email vs. Telephone
Just recently we spent hours on the telephone trying to get a product replaced that was under a 1-year warranty.
I won’t say the specific name of the company but it was a security camera that we bought for my mother-in-law.
It protects the outside of her home and we are able to watch over it via my wife’s smartphone.
Since the security system was set up we have had nothing but great success with the security cameras, until recently.
The cameras went offline and there was no way to get them back up and running unless we went to the base station.
That, however, was a 2-hour drive from us so we relentlessly made the trip because we knew we had to get them working again.
It was Mrs. CBB who made the phone call to try and reset the base station only to find out after an hour of troubleshooting with customer service in the Philipines that it needed to be replaced.
The phone call was choppy at best as the phone was cutting in and out and we had to keep asking the customer service technician to repeat himself.
Thankfully, he was cheerful and understanding and was able to finally get us permission to return the base unit for a replacement.
The only problem was we were not getting the replacement email that we were promised.
We would get emails stating that we had not started the replacement process but we could not since no one sent the email to start it.
It was not in our spam folder either, we checked daily.
Making Multiple Consumer Complaint Phone Calls
A second phone call to the call center only became more frustrating for us because we were put on hold so many times.
It seemed that the customer service agent had to keep asking his supervisor for direction.
Just before this phone call, we decided to send a Twitter DM to the company and that’s when things started to move along.
Magically things started to happen on the phone where the supervisor took over.
Finally, she sorted it all out, apologized and sent me everything needed via email to get the process started to replace the base station.
It took an army of people on their end to get one consumer complaint completed only after we took to social media.
Don’t get me wrong I didn’t publicly call out the company, I privately sent them an email to alert them of my complaint.
With-in 2 days a Fed-Ex box arrived on our door-step with the new base station and away we went to fix it.
The base station was only worth $100 so I did question whether I should just bite the bullet and buy it new or go through the process.
Certainly, there are times where you have to weigh your options.
I was also considering making a consumer complaint through Amazon Canada which is where we purchased the security cameras.
We didn’t have to go that route however we have in the past sent emails to Amazon about products that weren’t living up to their name.
Online Complaint Email Yields Results
A simple consumer complaint email is all it takes sometimes to get the job done because specific employees handle the complaints department.
When you make a phone call to customer service to file a complaint you don’t always get the person who should be dealing with it.
They try to solve the issue but you might often have to ask for a supervisor which is what we had to do to solve our problem.
What a phone nightmare that can be.
Although making a phone call is a viable option if you have a complaint you can take the easy route and write a consumer complaint email.
Almost all businesses including the Better Business Bureau of Canada want to hear about your experiences if they are not up to par.
Often if you scroll to the bottom of a business website you will find a customer service link or a tab to write an email to the company.
The auto-email may have a drop-down list that you can choose the type of email you are writing so it gets sent to the correct department.
For example, if you have something nice to say about a company there may be a compliments drop-down on the menu.
Companies want to know what they are doing write but even more so they want to know what they can improve on.
Better Business Bureau Online Consumer Complaint Email
Alternatively sending in a consumer complaint letter to the Better Business Bureau of Canada (BBC) is an option.
What this does is alerts the BBC complaint department of marketplace issues pertaining to product or service that did not meet standards.
It also alerts other consumers of businesses that aren’t living up to what they are marketing.
No business wants to have their name tagged by the BBC full of consumer complaint letters.
To complain to the BBC they have specific rules you must follow which can also be applied to writing a consumer complaint letter.
- The complaint includes the complainant’s name, a postal address, and an email address
- The complaint includes the business’s name and provides sufficient information to determine the business’s location
- The complaint seeks assistance from BBB
- The complaint is from a person (or a person’s authorized representative) or entity (business-to-business) that had a marketplace “relationship”
- The complaint relates to a marketplace issue. Typically, the issue complained of must have arisen within the previous 12 months (Note: warranties/guarantees or other extenuating circumstances may supersede this criterion.)
- The complaint must allege a deficiency in the company’s marketplace performance with regard to the services or products that the business provided or allegedly agreed to provide
- The complaint is not in litigation when filed with BBB and has not been resolved by a previous court action, arbitration, or settlement between the parties
- The complaint contains no abusive language.
How To Write An Effective Consumer Complaint Email
- Avoid being mean, sarcastic or ugly when you write your consumer complain email as it will only be frustrating for you and for the business to handle. Always remember that the person you are writing the email to is not the person or product that caused you frustration. They are merely there to listen and help to resolve the issue so the company can learn and the customer is happy.
- Always include your full name, address, phone number, email when you write a consumer complaint email so they know how to contact you.
- If you have receipts, warranty, emails or any other documents make sure to scan them as an attachment to your consumer complaint email. Most online auto-emails for businesses allow consumers to upload photos for their customer service agents to see. If this service is not provided see if you can locate a business email where you can directly send your consumer complaint email.
- Explain the problem or concern in as much specific detail without rambling because all you really need to do is get to the point. If you have a reference number from previous communications with the company always include that. This helps them find your case promptly so they can review it.
- Always tell them what you want to see happen from your consumer complaint email. For example, if you bought a product that went moldy before it’s expiry date ask them for a replacement coupon or refund cheque.
- If you are able to request a return receipt on the email do so that way you know they received it. Give it a week before you email them to follow up if you haven’t heard back from them. The company should respond in a reasonable amount of time.
Sample Consumer Complaint Email
Below is a sample consumer complaint email or letter that you can send to a business to inform them of a concern that you may have.
I have created a word document so you can use my template or print it for reference.
Please note: That is not my phone number or address it is fictional.
124 That Way Drive
Toronto, Ontario, L8L3E3
September 25, 2019
Mr. Potato Head
Humpty Chip Company
233 Potato Lane
Toronto, Ontario L9W3L9
Dear Mr. Potato Head:
Subject: Complaint about your Dill Pickle Potato Chips 500g bags, UPC code 333222, Expiry Sept 20, 2019.
Recently I purchased a bag of Dill Pickle Humpty brand potato chips only to find they were stale when we opened them before the expiry date.
I tried to return them to the grocery store however I did not have a receipt and they would not exchange or refund the stale chips.
I’m writing to you today in hopes you can refund me my money or offer me a complimentary coupon so I can purchase another bag of Dill Pickle chips.
I’ve always been a customer of Humpty Chips since they are my favourite however this time around I stumbled upon a problem and wanted to bring it to your attention.
I have the bag of stale chips if you would like me to return them to the company at your expense for inspection by your Quality Control team.
I would be grateful if you could look into this matter immediately so I can receive a refund and start enjoying my favourite Humpty Chips once again.
You can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1-705-222-3334.
Follow Up With A Consumer Complaint Email
As I mentioned above if you haven’t had any emails back from the company you sent a consumer complaint email to in a week, try again.
If nothing, call them or try sending an email via their social media outlets as they always have someone taking care of the accounts.
You need to get the attention of someone who is willing to listen to your valid customer complaint.
Keep in mind that just because you share it on social media doesn’t mean you will get what you want.
Try to take the high road and start by using complaint processes put in place by the business before you move to more media type resolutions.
Discussion: Have you ever had success writing a consumer complaint email? Tell me about it in the comments below as I’d love to hear about your experiences.