Write a complaint letter.

The writer of a complaint letter is typically:
1. an end user of a product that did not perform to the user’s satisfaction
2. the recipient of a service that was not performed to the recipient’s satisfaction
3. someone (or some organization) under the jurisdiction of the government entity being written to.

The desired consequence of a complaint letter is: its target audience resolves the complaint — to the satisfaction of the writer of the letter.

The topic of a complaint letter is usually:
an unsatisfactory performance of a product or a service

Composing and sending a complaint letter initiates a complaint-resolution process the writer/originator hopes will achieve the desired consequence

The central body components of a complaint letter:
1. render a function-oriented complaint (to the target audience)
2. provide useful context-building information (to the target audience)
3. request an appropriate outcome (from the target audience)

Function-oriented Complaint:
Whether a complaint concerns a product or service, the complaint letter should provide a function-oriented description of how the product/service is not “behaving” as expected. Such descriptions should be clear and accurate; also, a qualified reader should infer a professional and emotion-neutral tone.

Context Building:
Ones experience of an unsatisfactory product or service is situated. Hence, an effective writer will provide context-building information in a complaint letter, so the reader can better understand the writer’s complaint and take effective action.

1. The context-building information of a complaint letter regarding a product often includes:
name of the product (being complained about)
Typically, this is the name used identify the product in advertisements or the name of the product as it is presented on the product’s packaging.
model number
serial number
catalog number (if the product was ordered from a vendor’s catalog), along with the publication month/season/year of that catalog
purchase order number
(if your company uses an accounts payable system with effective internal controls)
where purchased (or a copy of the relevant receipt)
when purchased (or a copy of the relevant receipt)

2. The context-building information of a complaint letter regarding a service often includes:
nature of the service (being complained about)
For example: installation of ___, repair of ___, delivery of ___, maintenance of ___, et cetera.
details concerning the ordering of that service
For example: date ordered, purchase order number, name(s) of relevant sales representative or customer service representative, agreed upon time frame when the service would be provided, et cetera.
details concerning the provision of that service
For example: date(s) & time(s) when the service was provided, location where the service was provided, identity of the individual(s) who provided the service, relevant purchase order number or invoice number, et cetera.

Request an Appropriate Outcome
In the context of a complaint letter, the request for an appropriate outcome (to the complaint-resolution process) should:
be concise
be reasonable
clearly specify an outcome which the target audience (also read as “organization represented by the target audience”) is able to achieve
clearly specify the time frame in which that outcome should be achieved; such a time frame should be prompt but not unreasonable

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