Recently, I checked on the rates of a hotel in a city where I'm going to be conducting a workshop.
The customer review section had several recent messages of praise and one scathing message alleging that the reviewer had to check out of his room because it was infested with bed bugs. Since bed bugs are getting a lot of attention in the news, I wondered if the report had any merit. Naturally, I looked for the response by management.
Management did write a response. I confess that I didn't read the part "below the fold," so to speak, but only the first paragraph which is probably all that most readers perused. The company rep noted that management had tried and failed to reach the writer to discuss the situation.
That was not a good first paragraph.
I don't care if they tried to reach the unhappy reviewer 300 times a minute. As soon as I read the allegations, I was interested in one thing and one thing only.
A good first paragraph would have started with "Our hotel does not have bed bugs." It could have continued to note how often their room are treated and how professional a job is done. It could also declare that the hotel has a diligent bed bug prevention program and that the staff wouldn't hesitate to recommend the rooms to friends and family members.
Lesson: Don't let a bureaucratic response get in the way of an effective answer.