Sending a complaint to a company and hearing nothing in return is infuriating. Just ask Nanni, the first recorded complaining customer in history.

This poor resident of ancient Mesopotamia received a sub-par bunch of copper ingots from a guy named Ea-nasir and let his dissatisfaction be known by taking the time to chisel a complaint in stone and sending it to the measly merchant. Unfortunately the poor bloke is still waiting for a reply 3766 years later! And he’s not alone either; according to the Huffington Post over half of online customer service requests on social media go unacknowledged.

So unless you want to wait for as long as Nanni the Mistreated Mesopotamian for your carefully worded complaint to be actioned, learn how to write a complaint that’s actually going to get their attention.

Tip #1: Keep it public.

If you’re a business, your reputation is your lifeblood. If someone is trashing your reputation publically then you have to nip it in the bud as soon as possible. As a customer, if you want to not only be seen, but be responded to, then you need to make sure your complaint is posted in a public forum. Google, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter… the modus operandi doesn’t really matter. Just get that message in front of as many eyes as possible and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’re responded to.

Tip #2: Spread the rot.

Customer service agents are trained to stop the rot of customer complaints. One bad customer review has the potential to turn off huge amounts of potential customers from using a business. The longer your complaint is posted and not actioned the more people are going to see it. Businesses do not want that – so how much more so if you throw in a little hint that without the proper attention, you’ll be warning all of your family and friends to stay clear. But keep it classy – make it sound like it’s your responsibility as a good citizen to steer other potential victims away from this dastardly business.

Tip #3: Be disappointed not angry.

When it comes to customer service, disappointed customers attract far more sympathy than angry ones. An angry customer is unlikely to be given respect – but for a disappointed customer, well, they know that they can be ‘saved’ from the depths of your despair and reborn as a happy, repeat customer. Make sure your complaint online shows how much you want to be happy with the business, but how unfortunate your experience has been. They’ll pounce on the opportunity to save face with you and ignore Mr Pardon-My-French over there.

Tip #4: Declare your intentions of leaving.

Ah – the ol’ storm out. If you’re a customer already – even a disgruntled one – you’re far more cost-effective to keep than a new customer is to obtain. So use this to your advantage. Explain how you just have to sort this problem out and if it’s not taken care of, you’ll be forced to move companies. This makes you look like you’re willing to be helped but at the same time not someone to be played or trifled with. It’s a tad passive aggressive maybe, but very effective.

So next time you’re looking to angrily type out an abusive comment on a company’s Facebook page, pause and remember Nanni and his terribly constructed tablet of complaint. Play it smart and get the response you’re looking for.