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Have you ever e-mailed a company CEO or senior management to escalate a complaint?

A number of ValueIreland.com readers over the years have criticised some of my responses to particular e-mails received from readers.

Take a situation where a consumer has gone as far as they can with a companies customer service, and where there’s no recourse to a regulator or to the law, the critical readers advocate taking things further that I might have commented in my responses.

By taking things further, the readers have advocated e-mailing senior management in a company to have them follow up on the problems. The usual example provided as evidence that this works is along the lines of “my friends IPOD stopped working so they e-mailed Steve Jobs and he sent them a new one”.

Personally, I’m not a believer in such tactics – though I have sent off a few letters and e-mails to CEO’s in my time. Some have responded, others have ignored the correspondence.

While such direct e-mails may work on occasion (as can be seen in some examples on the US website Consumerist.com, there is a danger that overuse of such tactics will reduce the impact of e-mailing a CEO to the same level as e-mailing the same companies customer service.

What are your thoughts on e-mailing the CEO of a company directly? Have you done this in the past? Has it worked?

1 comments On Have you ever e-mailed a company CEO or senior management to escalate a complaint?

  • I know personally of a senior executive of well known company who managed a department whose only job was to deal with complaints directed to the CEO.

    These complaints got priority.

    The direct mail to the CEO eliminates one one of the great PR get out excuses. “I was not aware of this problem and if I had been aware I would have fixed it.” The danger to the CEO is the “Joe Duffy effect”.

    The only downside I see is over use. But you could argue that this is free feedback to a company on how customers see their product or service.

    Good companies value this feedback and act on it. However it probably doesn’t with lousy service companies and they are likely to have the most problems.

    It won’t work for Ryanair and most of our financial and stockbroking institutions. Given their history, you can see that their CEO’s are pretty well immune to embarressmenht!

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