When is a complaint letter like a sales letter? When it gets the immediate, affirmative response you’re looking for. Take the letter “professional complaint letter writer” Bruce Silverman wrote to the Ritz-Carlton that ended up getting him a week, totally comped, at the company’s Kapalua in Hawaii.
As today’s Consumerist detailed, Silverman has been amazingly successful in getting companies to give him all sorts of free stuff: First class upgrades, hotel room upgrades (how does a free week in the Presidential Suite sound?), hundreds of dollars in cash — all from his way with words.
Silverman has now written a book filled with advice for complaining. The basic technique isn’t too far off from the way to write an effective sales letter. Basically his advice is:
- Make the opening of your complaint letter personable and personal. Hook their interest.
- Praise first before you explain why you’re dissatisfied.
- Keep it brief. The reader is busy and easily distracted.
- Be reasonable — don’t ask for the moon.
- Make it clear you haven’t written them off, that you pl;an to be customers again in the future, and that you would welcome some sort of compensation.
As the Consumerist put it, “It’s really just an artful way of demonstrating the basic principle of “it will cost more to ignore me than to take care of my problem.”
Check it out. It’s a fun read. And it may get you what you want next time you’re wronged.