7 steps to make a complaint

Get your voice heard.

You should always let a company know when they’ve let you down so you can give them an opportunity to put things right for you.

Here are my top tips I’ve picked up over the years  :

  1. Keep it brief

So you’re angry, something has you fired up.  The temptation is to give chapter and verse.  You want to tell the whole story.  But remember who you are talking to.  They are more than likely receiving numerous complaints and they will have heard every story, chapter and anthology.  You want to get your message across and quickly.

  1. Stick to the facts

Complaining can get emotional.  Explain what happened with facts.  What happened and why they have let you down.  Phrases like ‘my holiday was ruined’, ‘you’re the worst company I’ve ever seen’ never hit home.  If it’s a lengthy story, summarise it with bullet points.  If it helps, write the whole story out and then cut it down by at least half.

  1. Tell them what you want

This is the one thing I tell everyone.  Having been on the other side of the coin, customers complaining rarely tell the company what they want.  Yes, a free First Class flight or a cruise around the world maybe unlikely but if that’s what you think you deserve, tell them.  It gives the company something to work with to help turn you into a happy customer.  It’s not a game of poker!

  1. Give them an opportunity to make it up to you

It is rare that any company wants to make you unhappy on purpose.  Sometimes they make mistakes; sometimes our expectations are different to what they think they should have done for you.  It’s their opportunity now to try to turn things around for you.  Always give them the benefit of the doubt.  If you’re not happy with the first response, go straight back to them.  Big companies want to close complaints quickly and often the first response is a series of standard replies.  If it doesn’t address your complaint, tell them so.  Be persistent.  Don’t give up!

  1. Find the right contact

Most organisations have a customer relations or customer care team.  Their contacts are generally on the website – some are harder to find than others.  Wherever possible I encourage you to write your complaint via email or else by phone.  If you’re not happy with your initial response then find out how you can escalate your complaint further.   Social media can be a great way to get an instant reply or else chase a response to your complaint.  Most companies have a Facebook or Twitter account.  Simply post a message to their account.

  1. Remind them you are a customer

People generally only complain to companies they care about.  There is a reason you’re taking the time to tell them what happened.  Remind them of your loyalty.

  1. Don’t make it personal

Remember, the person you are speaking or writing to is another human being.  It is highly likely that what has happened is not their fault.  They should be there to try to make things better for you.  Make your points known, be firm but also be fair.  Making someone cry on the telephone or generally getting their back up will not help your cause.    If you manage to resolve your complaint, always thank the individual who has helped you.  Remember, they should want to help and turn your experience around.


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