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Formal Letter Responding to Customer Complaints

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 21 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Customer Complaint Complaints Customer

Most organisations will receive complaints from customers or clients at some time. While policies will differ on how complaints are handled and/or investigated, good customer service dictates that the complaints be acknowledged in writing. This may be via email or post, but regardless of the delivery method a letter responding to a customer complaint should always include details of the complaint and when it was received, offer information on how the complaint will be handled and advise the customer of when or what they can expect to hear from the organisation in the future.

Details of the Complaint

When a customer lodges a complaint (s)he usually does so by offering details of what happened, when it happened and which employee was involved. These details should be repeated back to the customer in a formal letter responding to the complaint. Not only does this help to summarise the complaint for everyone involved, but it allows the customer a chance to review the incident and to make sure that it matches his or her original report. If there were few details included when the original complaint was lodged then few need to be included in the letter responding to the complaint, though it should be noted if further information will be needed during the course of a proposed investigation.

Information on Complaint Handling

A formal letter responding to customer complaints should also include details of how the complaint will be handled. Who will look into it, how this investigation will be conducted and what the repercussions might be for the customer and employee involved should all be noted. Again, if further involvement of the customer will be needed during the course of an investigation of the complaint then this should be made clear in the letter.

Advice on Future Contact

A formal letter responding to a customer complaint should end with advice on when and how the customer can expect to hear from the organisation in the future. This is usually a brief sentence that offers customers some sort of deadline by which they should hear back regarding their complaint. Information on how the customer can contact the organisation again in the meantime may also be included, usually in the form of a Customer Service telephone number or email. If there is a designated individual who deals with complaint enquiries then this name or job title may be mentioned as well.

Sample of a Formal Letter Responding to Customer Complaints

Mr. John Cole
Job Title
Organisation Mailing Address


Ms. Lisa Roberts
Mailing Address

Dear Ms. Roberts,

Thank you for your recent correspondence with [Organisation].

Your complaint regarding [Item or Action] as occurred on [Date] involving [Employee] has been recorded and [Organisation] will be looking into this case. To facilitate this investigation, [Organisation] requires [Item or Action] from you so that we can [Reason Item or Action Needed].

Please don't hesitate to contact [Organisation]'s Customer Service Department on [Telephone Number or Email Address] to discuss [Item or Action Needed] or if you require further information on the status of your complaint. Most investigations take several weeks to close and [Organisation] will contact you with our findings in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

John Cole
Job Title

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