Great Complaint Letter Leads To Replacement Pens, Loyalty

Christopher is an editor, and always needs to keep a red pen at the ready. He even has a preferred brand, the Pilot Precise V5. When he recently found that one of his pens was defective, he wrote a great letter to Pilot about the situation and was amply rewarded with…well, with more pens.

This is an example of a great complaint letter. Christopher gives just enough information to make himself seem human, but doesn’t ramble on or recount a lengthy personal story. He also details exactly what he would like the company to do in order to make up for the defective pens.

Here’s one of those good-customer-service stories you print now and then. On Monday, February 21, 2011, I wrote the following to Pilot Pens:

I purchased a twin-pack of your red-ink Precise V5 Rolling Ball (Extra Fine) pens. As an editor that needs a lot of red ink, I’ve long loved using this particular model.

Unfortunately, both of the pens from this latest purchase have run into ink-flow issues, resulting in faint, illegible writing. While I could just use another pen, both of these still have quite a lot of ink (one is about half full, the other about three-quarters full), and I really do love the way they work (when they work correctly, of course). I just wouldn’t want to edit a document and have the author overlook the typos and errors I’m pointing out because my ink is too faint.

I don’t have my receipt anymore (who keeps a receipt for a pen?), but is there any way I could get a coupon for a new purchase, or perhaps even replacement pens? I really do love your product; I don’t want to let these two defective pens ruin that special relationship between an editor and his red ink.

Thank you, and I do hope to hear back from you soon.

They responded today (February 23) with the following:

Dear [Christopher],

Thank you for your recent email message regarding our Precise V5 Retractable Rolling Ball pens.

We are sorry for any inconvenience you have had but appreciate the opportunity to address the situation. Without testing the pens you described in your email, we are unable to determine the cause of the problem you experienced. Your comments will be forwarded to our Quality Control department for review. We are sending replacements and complimentary samples for your inconvenience.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to bring this matter to our attention and for giving us this opportunity to address your concerns. We value your investment in our products and your continuing loyalty.

I’m impressed that they were not only willing to ship replacement pens to me (thank you, Consumerist, for the lessons on how to state in your initial letter what you’d like to see done), but also complimentary samples. Like I said in my e-mail to them, I really do like their product, and I’d rather not let a few poor experiences ruin the customer/business relationship.

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