As a consumer, you have the right to expect quality products and services. When that doesn’t happen, you also have the right to pursue corrective action. Doing so does not mean you have to come off as angry or abrasive, and you should keep in mind that the company in question owes you no more than to resolve your issue. And sometimes, they may not even have a legal obligation to do that.
That said you will have a better chance at a positive outcome if you calmly and rationally approach the situation. Remember, often the person with whom you are dealing is simply representing the company—the problems you may have experienced with the product or service is very likely not his fault, nor is it within his control. However, as your first contact, he can be a gateway to getting what you want. Treat that person with the respect you would expect if you were in his shoes.
Here are a few pointers on how to effectively complain and hopefully get the outcome you seek:
Think about the best way to express your complaint.
There are a few avenues you may take in doing this. You can choose to write a traditional letter, contact the company by telephone, email the company or contact them through their website.
Before contacting anyone, prepare your complaint.
Decide how best to articulate your issue with the product or service, tell your story and detail what kind of resolution you are seeking, i.e. replacement, a refund, etc. Be ready before you make contact. That way, by the time to actually reach a company representative, you have taken your anger out of the equation and will not be having a knee-jerk reaction.
You may have an idea of what you would like to get out of the complaint process. The customer service representative may not share your idea. Be open to listening to what he has to say. If it is a reasonable resolution to your problem, accept it. Meeting in the middle may actually be a fair compromise, especially in situation where the company in question has no legal obligation to meet your demands.
What if your complaint is ignored?
Decide how important it is to further pursue action. Is there a higher authority within the company to whom you can take your complaint? If you feel strongly that you have been wronged, there are a number of online consumer blogs on which you can express your dissatisfaction. Another avenue you may wish to consider is Twitter. Many companies have Twitter accounts dedicated to customer support. They sometimes go above and beyond to help angry customers who have tweeted their problems.
If, after you have given it a reasonable effort, your complaint remains unresolved, it will be time to decide whether or not it is really worth the time and frustration you had devoted to it. If you feel you’ve been grievously wronged or injured, it may be time to see legal advice to understand your rights. If you have gone in circles and see no resolution in sight, decide if continuing to fight the battle is worth it. Sometimes letting go is your best option. Speak with your business—in this case, take it elsewhere and tell everyone you know to do the same.
Charlie Adams is a tech guru working as a consultant for telecommunications companies in the Las Vegas area. Charlie is an outspoken advocate of grammar checkers and often encourages associates and employees to instantly proof their work to ensure quality writing. He also is an advocate of taking his Nissan on long drives through the Nevada desert.