The Complaint Email That Gets Results, Hilariously

The Complaint Email That Gets Results, Hilariously
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Our episode today is about crafting a complaint email that gets results. Cristina has a rant about her returns issue with the discount boutique Ruelala that is hilarious. Amazingly, a powerful email outline emerges that will work for you every time!

There are few things more frustrating than receiving a product that doesn't match our expectations. Imagine Cristina's disappointment when she wanted to return those items, only to be told she exceeded her return allowance! The horror! That's when her email to the company took on a life of its own.

This podcast is for anyone who has ever wanted to write that perfect email that expresses our dissatisfaction but also gets the company to actually DO SOMETHING about your disappointment. We've rounded up some tips on crafting that perfect email to get results. Listen with us to start emailing in all aspects of life to get ACTION. 


Welcome to Morning Coffee and Mimosas. I'm Cristina, and I'm Joe. We are a father-daughter duo. We come here Sunday mornings, but you can come here anytime you, please. We banter about life, about business, and we do it over coffee and mimosas.

Good morning. 

Good morning, dad. 

How are you?

 I'm good. What was... I keep bringing these weird accents hahaha from week to week now. 

And what country are we from today?

Hahahaha, I don't know. I don't know. 

Where are we broadcasting from? Hahahaha

Hahaha broadcasting live from the moon. 

There you go. I don't know what accent they have over there.

 I don't either. 

Yeah, that's good. Send them an email. 

Send them an email on the moon. 

That is the topic for today, so.

It is. Well, good morning, listeners. 

Good morning!

 So this episode is inspired by a recent experience that I had. A's had a couple of recent experiences both directly and through a friend of mine,  where I don't know about you dad, but  I have; I think we talked a bit of the Weber situation right. Several months ago. And like just impressive customer service, customer... 

That was Weber grills. 

Yeah. So, so listeners, this podcast episode is inspired by a recent experience I had working with a brand that I work with often and when I say work with, I mean, shop with hahahaha.


This is not work-related right now.

Trust me, the shop is in capital letters, hahaha.

Hahahahaha, let's just say a brand that I invest in quite frequently,  and have had a couple of experiences recently where, you know, it's – do you have a good experiencebackground? How do you get attention if you do not have a good experience? How do you get the right people's attention or people that you would think... how many times have you said to yourself, dad -  oh, the CEO, they're not going to care about this. Like, you know, they don't think about an order that's placed or a customer that calls in. And maybe that's the case, but listeners, this episode is inspired by a couple of recent experiences where a customer experience was challenging. The response that I took was to go ahead and send an email to the CEO. So... haha

 Aren't you brave! Hahaha

Long way of saying, and I've talked about this in the past, right? Like, yes, we often think, Okay, CEO or somebody like they're, they're probably too busy to worry about little things. What we want to talk about this morning is  - how do you, when you have something that is important to you or that you feel like there's some kind of injustice if you will or something that isn't right, or that you need to be addressed, or you want to be addressed, how do you communicate, or email specifically to get somebody's attention. Somebody t critical necessary critical attention, somebody whose time is in high demand. How do you get that person's attention? And this is inspired by a couple of experiences recently where I was a part of,  you know, either helped to craft a message that went to a CEO of a huge brand or prepared when myself and both of them got action.

Well, tell us about it!

So,  does this resonate with you, dad? Am I talking nonsense? 

No, I want to hear what it is thatyouthat you wrote that got attention because, I think all of us, whether we're trying to get a prospect to do something, a sales thing, or you're agitated with customer service. You've reached the end of your rope with a product or, you know, something, and you want to reach out beyond that. How do you do it so that you don't come across like a bitch or a pain in the ass or a real SOB where you get dumped into – Well, that's a disgruntled customer. 

Right. And that is precisely why I wanted to have this episode because I think for us, there's a way to do it and a way to do it that gets action and nobody... So let me, I'll tell you about my recent personal experience here. So a brand that many of you may know I love is Rue La La. I shop with them often.


Do you like how he is beating around the bush before? And now I'm like, Rue La La! Hahahaha. I shop with them often to the point where it's like a joke among friends and,  definitely not Brad's favorite boxes to see at the front door. 

No. No.

Usually, one or two in the foyer are packed up to go back or ready to be received. So my foyer is a bit of a receiving department for theRue La La shopping.   But I love this brand. I've shopped with them for probably ten years. So recently, I've been noticing, you know, and rightfully so with the last couple of years, customer service, you know, things have changed a little bit, and I get it right. That's kind of the nature of life right now. But the problem was that the first person I got on the phone was not a very nice customer service rep. So it started kind of off on the wrong foot where instead of it being accommodating, like, Hey, you know what, Cristina, you're a great customer, but I can't execute another exception for you because you've passed your limit. And to that point, I would have. Okay. I appreciate that. 

Right. So it wasn't the No; it was how the No was delivered. 

Exactly. So we've talked in other episodes about delivery. Is everything right? Or like last week, I think in, you know, setting the tone during a conversation or a meeting. The tonestyle was placed negatively. 


So anyway, suddenly, I'm feelingI feel like the thing I love or have loved about this brand is that the customer experience has just always been excellent. You call, you have a problem it's easy. Once it becomes uneasy...

And you purchase much more than you return. 

Oh, yeah! 

So this isn't a situation that, you know, you've just returned, returned, returned, returned, returned and... 

No, I mean, I have a borderline problem, so like, it's... 


Hahaha, if it were like gambling or like, you know, drinking, I'd be going to meetings, but this is...

You'd be in a 12-step program. Right.

Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean...

Ok, so what did you write?

 So anyway, so that was the whole thing, right? Like as soon as something stops being straightforward, then it's hard. And then suddenly that brand that you feel pretty passionate about, all of a sudden you're passionate about the reverse, right? So, I talked to the two people, and I was like, okay, this is kind of a problem because this brand that I love, they're not operating like the brand that I know and love. So I looked up their CEO's name and sent him an email.

And this is where guys, I want to start talking about how your email to getgets attention and results and an outcome.   And, it's not so much about the email that I sent because I think anybody can do this. But the first thing that I thought about was what would be a compelling subject line? Because the CEO is going to read this and look at it, I'm sure I'm not the first person that was ever, like, let me email the CEO.


 But if he's going to read it and if he's going to take note of it, what's something that might get his attention? So instead of like, "Employee Complaint" or "Disgruntled Customer" or something like that, I put "Why I'm Breaking Up With Rue La La" in the subject line.

Right, ok. Cute. 

Now, I don't know if you would have opened that or if it would have looked like spam, but think about something that's going to resonate. What can you tie if it's something that you like without it being disingenuous? What can you connect to the situation that happened that might be on their priority list? So, I don't know if this has been an issue before where he's seen, you know, okay, we're having customer experience issues. But I put it out there just broadly, breaking up with. Why am I breaking up with them? It was kind of like, cheeky, whatever. Is it something that's going to get their attention? 

Come up with something cute or something relevant to the issue, but it is not what everyone else says.

Exactly. And then I would think about it being short and sweet. Right? 


 So I would think about, you know, a subject line that's like under 10, 10 words, something short, sweet, compelling, and tied in with likely some kind of corporate objective. So think about what's important to that customer right now, that company right now, what's essential to a person if it's a personal note. 

Well, they exist through the relationship. So, it's a relationship you continue with and continue to buy, so breaking up is not a good thing.


Right. So that was a good choice of words. 

Right. I thought so. Pat myself on the back right there.

Well, evidently. Because listeners, I think she got a good positive outcome, so. 

Yeah. So, then the next thing is like the body of the text. Now, I think the work is to be done because what is your initial? When I wrote my email, I was freaking pissed. This you-know-what is making my life hard put me on hold for 13 minutes to get to somebody to ultimately tell me no refund was in the cards and that I couldn't talk to anyone else about it. She was like the end all be all within Rue La La. So I was all fired up, Right.? And granted, I spent way too much time on this. Believe me. I was very proud of the outcome, but  when I told my husband Brad about it, he was like, "So how much time did you spend on this?" I was like, "Way more than I should have." Haha. But the point is when you get to the body of your email,  when you're all fired up, the instinct is to start venting in your email. Right.?


And to like throw all of like the wrongdoings and everything that's happened into this note. That is the worst way to get an outcome or response because you just sound like an angry, complaining person. So, I would suggest as you're thinking about the body of your text,  almost look at it as a coaching experience or an opportunity to like, you know, when you're giving feedback, you think about the good things that happened first, right? So, you know, I called attention to just like how much I love their brand and what I've loved about their brand for the last 10ten years and how much I've been shouting that brand from the rooftops. And that is no lie. 

So basically, you were hitting on longevity referrals and enjoying the process of this whole thing. 

Yeah. I mean, I was painting the picture that Rue La La is a good, bad or indifferent part of my life in that, you know, I recommend it to friends. 

Right, so... 

My husband hates it. 

So, okay. So basically, you're breaking up, and now you're saying all of the beauty,ful beautiful wonderful beautiful wonderwonderwonder,rful beautiful things about these relationships. This sounds like, you know, breaking up, Like with a relationship. 

I didn't end with like", It's not you, it's me." I ended with...

It's you! Ha; it's

 "It's not me, it's; it's; it's you." Hahahaha! So I think to start with the positives. Nobody cares about helping somebody that just seems like a pain in the ass, right? So if you were reading the note, you'd say, "Okay yeah, they liked our brand, and those are all the things I believe our brand did stand for." And then I shared the experience, you know, over the last couple of years, the experience has changed. Here's kind of what I've experienced quickly.

And then shared, you know, I didn't even ask for anything. I just shared kind of, "This is what it is, this is what I was asking for, this was kind of the experience I had and, hey, I thought that you might want to know about this in case that experience doesn't align with the knowledge that you're hoping your customers enjoy with Rue La La. 

Got it. 

And then basically was like, "Take care and...

Haha," Thanks for an incredible ten years, bye!"

Thanks for a good 10ten years. You know, I hope you can understand why I'll be bringing my loyalty somewhere else. And, with that, the customer response or the company response was right away and everything that I had experienced in the past with this brand.

Right, ok. 

So anyway, this was like a long venting session to say, there's a way to do it. And it's a lot of fun when you start kind of thinking about like,  how can I help them not to have other people have this experience because if it's a brand you care about, they need to know about these things, 

Right, so you're... It's an excellent model. I like your model because, first of all, that subject line has to be unique. Something that doesn't just go into the disgruntled customer box, so to speak, and compels that executive to read the email. But then you started if there's almost a 1, 2, 3 pattern, Describe; describe the positive relationship, explain the deterioration of that and explain that deterioration. And then also the magic in that email was that you did not ask for anything. And you just said, I'm doing this as a favor. You know, I took my time. I could have just said, forget it and trashed you to 50 people, but I'm taking the time to let you know this, you know, thank you for an incredible ten years, and you sign your name. And I think that that's the power because I don't know the statistic, but there's a million statistics about the customer who complains,  we get annoyed with. But behind them, there were like 50 people who had the same lousy service. 

And just didn't say anything and stopstopped shopping with you. 

Stopped shopping, and trashed you to another 50 people each like, so 5,000 people or whatever comes out to, you know, so. And I'm making those numbers up, I; I don'; It knowknows knows what it is, but. 

But that's also where you need to have some kind of like brand affinity in order toto care enough to do that. If it was a brand that I just shopped with at one point, you know, at one point in time, that was my experience; I wouldn't be bothered to do that. But I'm like, man, I, I love this brand. I don't want to stop shopping with you, but man, this experience turned me off, you know? And like it's an exception, not a rule. So, you know, and, and it had gotten to be a little bit of a pattern. So it's like,  how do I address this,s o it gets somewhere? Because all I was seeing was like these people, I can't even say, I; I feel like they've taken the note down. Right? Like I was saying, I'm not going to shop with you guys anymore if this is the way you handle things. Well, all right. 


I'm like, that doesn't feel like how they would want to handle this. 

No, exactly. So you paint... and I like the model, and the model works. It's replicable, which is what I likewant about it. If I'm not mistaken, you also use that you helped a friend out without the whole... Not that I don't want to hear your fullwholefull whole full story, but without the entire entire entire real whole story...

No, I won't go into another diatribe.

No. But you, you also came up with... 

I enjoy creative writing a little bit. 


I see that. You came up with a creative way to grab the attention of another major company where ... And by the way, they don't always read the emails. They have people who read them, but they're called, you know, so if you get something unique to that reader, they give it to the president. 

So the example that I just gave was a fun one, right?


Like a brand and when you want to get something like I think the whole topic of thinking through how you can get attention in email is a significant one. And I think about this being in sales or dealing with customers, trying to get in front of people. That is huge. So all of that same stuff applies. And maybe that's why kind of bringing that into my personal life,  as I was thinking about how can I change this with this brand that I love, a lot of like the things that I think about at work, right? Like, well, okay if I want to get in front of somebody, what's a creative way that, maybe they will open this email instead of putting it in the junk, just like everything else.

What's a way for me to show up and not be viewed as spam, but be vconsidered to be insomething that's worth reading. So it's those same things like,  I mean subject line is everything right? But then once they decide that that subject line was worthy enough for them to click into it, you got to have something there that they can, that that implores them to do a little something more.

 Right, it's nothing, nothing different than seeing an impressive movie title on Netflix or something. And a great graphic. And then starting the movie and it doesn't catch you, you know, right away. It's got to hold you for a little bit. Right? Until you get into the characters. So you're, you're right. In sales, that subject line has to get me to read the email, but once I start reading, don't lose me going off into a million things. 

Yeah. And I have to applaud as part of this leader's cause from what I've seen, you know, and I think that's when you know, it's a great brand and sometimes any, any good brand, sometimes along the way, there are challenges with execution. But you know it's a good brand when the CEO or an executive cares about an individual experience because they recognize that.

All these micro experiences make up, ultimately, their whole brand reputation. 

 Right. And you don't know also you might've sent this email and gotten a response, but it also could be that that CEO or whomever the head is of support or whatever,  got 10, 15, 20, 30 others that echo the same thing you actually could affect change at that company.

Well, I don't; I won't give myself that much credit, but Mark McWeeny, if you are listening. Thank you. I have lots of respect for you. And, I very much love the Rue La La brand. So. Yeah. I don't know. Shout out to Mark McQueeney and... 

Wow, so if they're listening, you may get a big package at your door.

I'll get a big package at my door, whether they're listening or not, hahaha!

Hahahaha at least the one you might have to pay for it. So that was good. So, I hope you don't mind my summary of what you did. You know, you grabbed attention, but creatively and used the word breakup or, you know, something that just, you know, like I get sales messages.

 Well, thinking about priorities - what would you answer? You know, what are your preferences that like, if you saw something in the tagline, what would...

Right. Well, for example, I don't know how many people send me emails to say, checking in.

Yeah, never. You're not going tomato...

 Checking in what... Not that you don't deserve my time, but checking in? What does that mean? But when I see people, salespeople that send me, for example, compelling, like relevant to what they were selling, but maybe, this might be ttimefor you at this time, you know, for, you know, whatever that service is.

Hey, I thought of you. Noticed, you know, whatever. Or they were reading something that my company put on LinkedIn and respond to, you know, to that. Do you follow? 

Yea, and maybe like a step further. Instead of thinking of you, perhaps I might think sustainability might be on your priority list. Or supplier diversity, you know, like. 

Just something that would...

I don't know. Something. Like, you can look at a company and figure out their priorities are kind of figure out how you align what... And again, it has to tie into the body because there's nothing worse than clickbait. Like nobody likes that. 
Exactly haha.

And you're not going to get, you know... there's plenty of people that come up with a super catchy subject line, but you have to make sure that it's not disingenuous because again, this wasn't, how do you email to get open. How do you email to get attention, results, and an outcome.


And you're not going to get that by clickbait.

 Right, so if you had this wonderful thing, you know, sustainability or, trends, you know, trends that affect you. And it says...

And the body's like, "Oh, just checking!" Hahaha!

 Hahaha or, you know, "Flash Sale, this weekend only!" You know, whatever. No, you just took a stock email, and you played with the subject line.

So, good. Very good!

So, yeah, I think the summary is:   We talked about the subject line, but then in the body don't complain. Be productive in what you're sharing, g; giveem a solution. And try and help them to solve a problem. And I think through that, you'll get a lot more of an outcome than by just venting and airing all of your grievances. I use that again now, ha. So come to them with like a productive... tell a story, you know, share the challenge's positiveands. And I think you will have a much better outcome. 

Good job. And you're happy with Rue La La, so...

 I love Rue la! So it's... You know, every relationship has theitsmps, and we just got over, you know, our maybe like our ten years, uh, hump here.

Who's better than you?


Wherever you are, whatever your story. Thanks for spending time with us this morning. Now, go and make a difference in your world.

Da,d I'm going to challenge you to start being more creative with the subject lines and emails you send me. So so, if you don't get a response, that's why. 

Haha, Yea, h I'm going to put "Open it Damnit!" Hahaha. Bye everyone, thank you.

Bye, everyone.