Here’s a good example of how to write an effective Executive Email Carpet Bomb, or EECB, to break through the “please hold” purgatory of the company’s phone system. Alicia’s car’s bumper was scratched by a Best Buy employee, and calling consumer relations as directed proved fruitless. Now she’s got a check in her hands from Best Buy to pay for the repairs.
We have quite a few stories now about Best Buy responding favorably to EECBs, which goes to show that if you can find a way to reach the company’s executives—and you write a good EECB—your odds of having your problem favorably resolved improves considerably.
Here’s Alicia’s story:
I just wanted to thank you for running such a helpful website. A Best Buy employee recently damaged my car loading a TV into the back of it. My bumper suffered from several deep gouges due to the large staples holding the box together being scraped across it. Upon noticing the damage when I got home, I immediately called the store. The employee insisted that “no manager would ever be available to discuss the issue” with me, and insisted on transferring me to their “consumer relations” line only to be put on hold indefinitely. Rinse, repeat. Of course, this lead to a dead end.
I’ve been an avid reader of The Consumerist for some time, and immediately consulted the site for e-mail addresses to send an EECB out to (I’ve included the letter at the end of this e-mail). I used many of the tips listed on how to write a letter that will receive a response. Sure enough, the next day I received an e-mail from an executive office representative letting me know that their insurance company would be contacting me shortly. Within a few hours an insurance representative called me, took my information, and got the ball rolling. After submitting an estimate, I had a check for the full amount of the estimate in my hands less than a week later.
I can’t thank you enough for having information readily available to help consumers fight back against endless streams of unhelpful processes. Please feel free to publish my story if you believe it would be helpful to other readers.
Happy to help, Alicia! Here are some of those links for other readers:
Below is the EECB Alicia wrote. Here are some things that are great about it:
- It’s to-the-point; although you shouldn’t feel the need to be too formal, an EECB is not the place for jokiness or overtly conversational writing styles.
- The structure of the email is easy to follow. If you’re having trouble writing a clear EECB, try following her 4-paragraph structure:
1. this is the shopping event I’m writing about;
2. this is the accident that happened, and how it was not resolved;
3. this is why I’m a customer worth keeping (a difficult concept to convey without sounding entitled, and Alicia nails the tone perfectly); and
4. here is what I want you to do to rectify the situation.
- Emotions, insults, and grand statements against corporations/the decline of American values/humanity in general are kept out of the email.
My name is Alicia. On the evening of September 5, 2008, my boyfriend
and I decided to take advantage of your 3-year no interest offer on
new HDTVs at store #204 in Austin, Texas. We selected a 46″ Samsung,
which was sent to the front of the store to be loaded into my car.
A helpful employee loaded it into the back of my 2008 Honda Fit.
Unfortunately, in this process my car bumper was damaged. Paint was
scraped off, and several gouges were left. As soon as we noticed the
damage, we called the store we had just purchased the TV from, and
asked to speak to a supervisor. We were transferred to Consumer
Relations line instead. After speaking to a representative named
Renee about the issue, we were put on hold so that she could “process
some information.” We waited approximately 30 minutes on hold before
giving up and hanging up. We then called store #204 back, and asked
again to speak to a supervisor, and were again transferred to Consumer
Relations and placed on hold for an extended period of time and again
not helped. We were told by the staff member answering the phone at
the store that there were no other options on whom we could speak to,
thus I am e-mailing you in attempts to receive some kind of resolution
to this issue.
We have been loyal Best Buy customers for upwards of six years. We
have easily spent at least $20,000 between us in that time. Needless
to say, we are very disappointed in the lack of customer service we
have received in this matter.
We would like to remain Best Buy customers, and would like to give
your office the chance to provide the superior customer service we
have received in the past. I am asking that a representative assess
and arrange for repair of damages to my bumper. I have included
several pictures of the damage.
I look forward to hearing from you in regards to this matter.
Thank you for your time,
One of the best ways you can approach a company to resolve a problem is as a partner in the business transaction—that is, you are not a victim or (worse still) an opponent, but rather someone who has done business with them and plans to do business again in the future, provided you two can iron out some kink that has recently gotten in the way.
Not everyone has the great hand Alicia had to play, because that “$20k customer” detail she throws out there at the end is pretty steep, but even so we think Alicia’s letter is a good example of how to approach a company on equal footing. Even if you’re not a big spender with a company, there are other ways you remain valuable to them, including word of mouth and long term repeat business.