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Materials to help with training in writing responses to complaints



I'm looking for some training materials to help with training on  writing replies to complaints. I need exercises etc so that the delegates can practise in the training room.

I've previously used the SCRAP mnemonic- so anything using that would be particularly helpful.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?



4 Responses

  1. from the heart

    Dear Karin

    This comes from the heart as a customer rather than from the head as a trainer.

    When I write a letter of complaint I am taking my valuable time to write to your organisation…..I make an effort to carefully consider the detail of my complaint and the position from which I am complaining.  I craft a letter that sets out all the salient points.

    Nothing therefore annoys me more (and therefore escalates my feelings of hurt/anger/betrayal/victimhood) than when I get back a letter that is either:

    a) a very long time in coming…especially if it is sent second class post!

    b) full of simple typos…..especially "I couldn’t be bothered to actually find out your name" errors such as addressing me as "Dear Mr Russell"

    c) which doesn’t answer all the points I raise, just the ones that the organisation thinks that it has a quick answer to

    d) anything that implies that I can’t possibly find fault with the product or service on the grounds that "no one else has complained"

    e) anything that I can reasonably interpret as "ha, ha, ha, gotcha: read the small print, sucker!"

    f) a completely illegible scribble as a ‘signature’ with no name printed underneath (yes, I appreciate all the arguments about personal safety of the people who handle complaints; by all means give a psuedonym but give me something rather than anonymity)

    g) buck passing……in these days of outsourcing this is endemic….if it isn’t another department at fault it is a supplier at fault…..I’m not interested in who is to blame I simply want my particular circumstance sorted out….even if it is a "gesture of goodwill"…….take ownership of the problem!

    h) finally I hate getting a letter that simply invites me to escalate the complaint to the next layer of management (especially when that layer is nameless but has a title [see f above]….I wrote a letter of complaint to YOU…..take ownership; don’t just bounce it back to me!

    Well, that makes me sound like the Commander-in-Chief of the Militant Wing of the Consumers’ Liberation Front, but I hope it helps




  2. Materials to help with training in writing responses to complain

    Hi Rus- helps a lot. Some of your points say very plainly what I’ll be spelling out in the training.

    With your permission I’d like to use this  verbatim ……..’A Plea from a Customer…’ kind of thing.

    I’m now working with my client on preparing cases to ‘practise’ on, which will give the practical element.




  3. Case Studies

    Hi Karin,

    I’ve written a couple of bespoke courses on this topic for clients in the past, and by far the most useful things is getting them to analyse letters of compalints, look at it from the customer’s POV, and work together (being coached in ful group) to create effective replies. Each company will have their own ‘format’, so you need to be aware of this. If you can get examples of poor letters then this can be useful too.

    Also, I find delegates get value out of looking at language…you can have some fun with this by looking at how words and poor punctuation can cause misunderstandings. I would include:

    • Active/Passive voice
    • Punctuation
    • Formal/informal styles (and the impact of these)
    • Positive/negative and neutral language 

    Obviously you also need to cover structure and layout as well as some simple rules e.g. topping and tailing (I have a 1-page handout that I’m happy to share if you drop me your email address).

    I hope this is helpful in support of Russ’s comments.

    Sheridan Webb

    Keystone Development

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