In case you haven’t noticed in the 135 posts preceding this one, I’m kind of a “do stuff” person. I’m not the type to just sit around bitching about something that makes me unhappy.
That’s not to say I don’t do my fair share of bitching, but when it comes down to it, I feel much better having done something … getting involved in some sort of (hopefully) positive change.
I am also kind of an extremist in this category of people. Yes, yes … I am a letter-writer.
As a communications professional (seriously, the job description is “relations with the public,” people), I realize that there are a myriad of ways to get in touch with people and companies. But, also as a communications professional, I firmly believe that few are as effective as a rational, well-thought-out letter.
Of course, it’s way easier to shoot off an email, a Tweet or pick up the phone … but that’s why I like letter writing. Now that there’s a variety of arguably less labor-intensive ways to contact companies, there’s less competition for your letter in the mail bin. And this may be my naiveté showing through, but I firmly believe that someone reads all those letters. It may not be the CEO or even his assistant, but somewhere, someone is reading the letters. And if I am able to calmly and articulately present a rational argument, as well as my desired outcome … I like to think that that someone will pay attention to my letter, and even pass it on to someone who has some decisionmaking power.
I’ve written letters for a variety of reasons. Some have elicited responses, others have not. But you know what? I usually feel better regardless, having stated my case and given the company (or individual) in question a chance to respond. If they respond (even if I don’t get my way)? Kudos to them for acknowledging me.
If they didn’t respond? As a communications professional, screw you. Depending on the severity of the issue and the tenor of the complaint, you’re missing a valuable opportunity to make a customer feel important. And in an age where it’s easier than ever for people to express themselves … don’t you want to make sure that every customer is singing your praises instead of cursing you to the high heavens (*cough cough* Carnival is a terrible cruise line)?
Here’s just a sample of the reasons I’ve written letters over the years:
- Carnival Cruises’ mangled mishandling of a casino dispute between their casino manager and BF (no response, this was probably the worst experience because it was a customer service issue)
- Dan Fouts being an all-around terrible college football commentator and hijacking the conversation any chance he got to talk about when he played for the Oregon Ducks (no response, but Fouts was MIA the season after I wrote this letter. I will continue to take credit for this)
- Subway employee from Gillette, Wyoming holding my wallet after I left it there and drove to South Dakota … and then sending it to Florida on her own dime with all $450+ and credit cards still intact. I wrote a letter both to Subway corporate and the individual franchise (no response back, but I hope she got something. Talk about good karma on her)
- At the tender age of 12, I wanted to work for Nintendo, so I wrote a letter to the CEO of the company at the time, including a writing sample and a resume (the head of their HR department wrote me a letter back, telling me that my work was fantastic, but unfortunately due to labor laws they couldn’t hire me until I turned 16. I know he was probably just being nice, but this story still makes me happy. I still have the letter)
So, as you can see, I’m not exaggerating when I say that I am one of “those people” … a letter writer. And clearly I started from a young age.
But you know what? I get shit done 🙂
Currently loving: It’s Friday!, Yoga Download‘s “Hip Opening Flow” (got back into Yoga last night yeaaaaaahhhhh), wearing a fun sundress to work today
image from David Spender