“Dear [Insert Your Name]”

Form letters. Where would big business be without them? As someone who used to work email customer service, I am well aware of the need for, and usefulness of, form letters. As a consumer, however, I hate receiving them.

I think it is because I used to be the one who sent the form letters. I am all too aware of how little effort it takes for some rep in Lenexa, to address my concern with just one keystroke. Occasionally we would have to make minor changes to a letter – to “personalize” it. This involved deleting a phrase like “[insert appropriate product here]” and typing in the product. A few more keystrokes, a few more minutes.

The form letter I received was in response to my passionate rant about our take-out order from a KFC. We ordered barbecue beans, they gave us green beans. They didn’t give us our cole slaw at all. There were no forks or napkins. No butter or honey for the biscuits. The chicken was greasy and limp – well, that much at least is something standard at every KFC. How Do these places stay in business?

To top it off, the website form for the complaint was a tedious maze of drop-down menus. I hate drop down menus for complaints. It only reminds me how I am one of thousands of people they are pissing off on a daily basis. It seems slightly cavalier and disinterested, to have a list of things that you can choose to be mad about: poor taste, cold, undercooked, foreign object (I had to click on that to see what it meant. You guessed it – that’s where you complain about the rat hair or human finger in your order. It’s a Drop-down menu, people! Think about that for a moment! At some point, management decided “foreign object” deserved a drop-down menu. But I digress….)

The form letter thanked me for letting them know the meal didn’t meet my expectations since their goal is to exceed my expectations. As a thank you for letting them know, and including my address, they were sending me some coupons in the mail.  That’s right – as a thank you for including my address! Not a “please accept our apologies for failing to meet your expectations. Please give us another chance” coupon. A Thank you.

I’m thinking of making up a form complaint letter. Because I’m convinced that no one even reads the email. They just respond according to the queue it was sent to. And that was based on the answers to all the drop-down menu questions. Or key phrases in the email. So really – why should I slave over an email that will be responded to in less than 2 minutes?! Next time a business makes me mad, I will take 60 seconds and send them a scathing, well-written form letter. If I’m really mad I might just leave the salutation as “[Dear Insert Your Name]”. Two can play this game!


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