An email telling you that your complaint has been passed to the relevant department perhaps? Or more likely a vacuous missive pumped up with empty guff about "issues...challenges...lessons will be learned"?
Well that's not what I got when I had cause to complain directly to the boss of WH Smith, Stephen Clarke.
Our local WH Smith branch has always admitted dogs on the not unreasonable grounds that their owners might buy the odd publication or two. This changed suddenly when I visited the branch with canine company and was challenged by a junior staff member who told me dogs were not allowed in the store.
I pointed out that this had never been the case before and was a complete shock. He was polite, but explained that a new manager had arrived and implemented a no-dogs policy.
What was I to do? Surely a people-friendly terrier should be able to visit his local newsagent, even if he has a human in tow?
A short trawl delivered up the office email address of Stephen Clarke, who has been CEO of WH Smith since July 2013. I outlined the situation, adding that local dog-owners were already venting their ire in a popular online forum.
Within an hour a reply dropped. I opened it expecting a bland acknowledgement from a PA. What I got was a first-class example of no-nonsense hands-on management and straight talking. I'll leave the rest to the man himself.
I am the owner of four dogs.
This policy is bonkers and it will be changed. I apologise.
I am out of the office at the minute but I have copied our stores director, Kevin Hall, who will sort it.
That's the way to go. And I love the use of "bonkers". No tiptoeing around the fact, just a heartfelt acknowledgement that a daft error has occurred and will be reversed pronto.
The corporate world could take note of this. It has certainly gone down well with a lot of WH Smith's customers in this part of West London. Keep it short and get to the point without obfuscation. That's the way to talk to your customers. All of them, including the four-legged ones.