Posted in writing

Writing and Answering Business Complaint Letters or Emails ~ 2013-1029


When writing a complaint letter or email:

  1. Be specific about the event (names, dates, contracts, amounts)
  2. Be objective but not angry; avoid negative language, don’t exaggerate, and don’t threaten
  3. Know what you want and ask for it assuming you will receive a positive result
  4. Institute a waiting period to cool off before reading it again and then sending it.

When answering an angry complaint letter or email:

  1. Anger is a secondary, defense emotion after experiencing frustration, disappointment, powerlessness, abandonment or embarrassment.
  2. Prewrite your letter or email looking for the root of the problem (are there specific people or departments mentioned in the complaint letter, if so talk with those listed,  investigate previous complaints, and check policies to see what can be done )
  3. Write the letter following these steps:
  • Acknowledge the complaint tactfully and personably
  • Apologize but do not admit wrongdoing; do not over apologize
  • Acknowledge their personal inconvenience and show you are on their side
  • Tell them what will be done to fix the situation but avoid being technical
  • Offer assistance in case they need further help with a contact name and number
  • Offer follow up
  • Thank them for letting you know of the situation


Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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