Have you ever called a company to complain about a product or service? Were you so frustrated that you started to yell? Were you successful in winning the complaint by yelling?
We’ve all been there. And, most likely, we’ll be in similar circumstances again. Therefore, we should be well prepared to win a complaint when we’ve received a less than stellar product or service. The problem of poor customer service is so prevalent, that I was recently interviewed by Lisa Gerstner for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine (March 2014) for an article titled “How to Complain.”
- Before you write, call, or visit with a complaint, remain calm. Take seven deep breaths.
- Have ready the facts and documentation to support your complaint. It’s hard to debate the facts. For example, know when the events took place, know the names of the people with whom you communicated, and know the promised deadlines.
- Decide what you want to resolve your issue. Think of at least two viable options that will satisfy you.
- Check the offending company’s website for the best approach to launching your complaint. For some companies, it may be best to send an email. For others, a call would be faster; and for others still, Facebook or Twitter may do the trick. When using written communication, make sure your message is brief and free of grammatical and spelling errors.
- When communicating with a representative to answer—what seems like—irrelevant questions, remain calm. The questions may be part of the company’s service recovery process.
- If the representative cannot give you what you want, ask to speak to a supervisor.
- If the supervisor cannot or will not help, go to the corporate level. Most of the time, you can find corporate contact information on its website.
- If your problem is still not resolved, contact a consumer or government agency like the Better Business Bureau or the Office of Consumer Affairs.
- As a last resort, sue the offending company in small claims court.
Remember: Complaints are a great opportunity for companies to fix something that is broken. Before you launch your next complaint, remain calm, be prepared, and be persistently pleasant. You just may be surprised by the results.
What do YOU do when you need to complain about a product or service? Please share in the comments section below.