We were in town last week queueing to pay for whichever newspaper it was that was giving away free Lego on Saturday when the lady on the till announced that she only had two packs left. Luckily Master Frugal was close enough to the front of the queue that he would get one of the packs and there was another boy in front of us who got the other one.
Most of the people in the queue groaned and walked over to put their newspaper back but one lady started to shout at the lady behind the till saying how it wasn’t fair that they didn’t have enough for everyone. The poor lady tried to explain that the newspaper only sent so many to each shop and once they were gone, they were gone unfortunately but this woman was having none of it. She stormed out of the shop and then back in again to shout some more.
All the while the poor lady behind the till apologised and tried to give her a leaflet which she had been told to give to people when the Lego ran out (no idea what it said). It genuinely wasn’t her fault but the lady was so rude and shouty that poor Master Frugal even considered giving her his Lego!
That is how not the way to complain – the rude shouty lady didn’t get what she wanted and went completely the wrong way about complaining as all that she succeeded in was upsetting someone who had no control over the situation and making herself look silly!
Don’t get me wrong, I do complain when I think it’s necessary but I kind of feel that people complain too much these days and that it is a bit of a compensation culture, the least little thing that happens and some people will fire off a complaint and expect to be compensated when they really haven’t experienced any financial loss and very little inconvenience or trauma.
So what’s the best way to complain if you’ve had a poor experience?
In my opinion, the main thing to bear in mind is that in the majority of cases, the person you’re dealing with is probably not the person who caused the complaint itself so there’s no need to be rude or personal against them.
If you have a problem, you can try calling the company before you do anything else as this is probably the quickest way to get things sorted. But…. You may find that you’re on the phone for a while getting passed around and if you’re anything like me this will just get you more frustrated and more angry which isn’t great!
This happened last year when I got so frustrated about a problem I was having that I did lose it when I was speaking to someone on the phone about the problem and I felt they weren’t helping. Basically, I booked a hotel stay for me and the kids but when we go to London the hotel was overbooked and they had no rooms for us. They left us sitting in a hot reception with not even an offer of a drink for way too long before (after lots of shouting from me and possibly some tears) they eventually found us a teeny room (possible broom cupboard) where we all had to share the same bed. They still expected me to pay the same amount and were very unapologetic and I *think* that’s the only time I’ve got angry on the phone with someone who had no control over the cause of my complaint. In the end I got my money back and they offered me a free night which I declined as I wouldn’t stay with them again.
I actually find that the most effective (and easiest) thing to do is to find the company on Social Media and send them a quick message – there’s no point being rude or offensive, no matter what your experience has been. Just state the facts of what’s happened, what impact it’s had on you and what you would like the company to do to put things right. (Updated) I had a recent issue with Sky and I was furious with them to the point that I came off the phone shaking I was so angry at the way I had just been spoken to. I fired off a tweet immediately and had a response back from the Social team at Sky within minutes. Their initial response wasn’t great but a couple of tweets later and someone was on the phone calling me to get things resolved. To their credit the lady I spoke to was amazing so all’s well that ends well but I would never have experienced this without a tweet.
Take it to the top
If I can’t get things sorted by tweeting or speaking to the company then I will email or write in to them but not to the main customer service address though. I use this site to see if I can find the Chairman’s or CEO’s e mail address and if not I will try and google for the e mail address and then I e mail them directly – again including what happened, how it affected me and what I want to resolve things.
Complaining in the right way usually gets things sorted and I can’t say I’ve ever had a genuine complaint that hasn’t been resolved in my favour.
Don’t forget to share the good stuff too
It’s not just the bad stuff you should share either, I recently e mailed the Chairman of a company to let him know of some excellent service that I received and he personally e mailed me back to let me know he would speak to the people concerned and ensure that they were recognised. People are quick to complain but not as quick to recognise excellent service. A quick tweet or email to recognise someone will make their day!
Have you complained about anything recently?
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Image credit – Nattapol Sritongcom Shutterstock