Even the most effective, well-managed and customer-oriented businesses make mistakes from time to time. When problems occur, customers should always take the time to complain in the right way. Making a complaint is not just about letting off steam and showing your dissatisfaction. Complaining ensures that the business has the opportunity to put things right. It can also ensure that you are appropriately compensated. If you want to ensure that your complaint is addressed in the right way, learn how to make effective complaints.
Get things in proportion
As difficult as it can sometimes be, it is very important to take the emotion out of a customer complaint. If a staff member is a little rude with you, then you might just need to put it down to somebody having a bad day. You don't, after all, want to become a serial complainant. Before you even start making a complaint, ensure that you understand what is worth complaining about. If you have been left financially disadvantaged, if a situation occurred that threatened your safety or if you observed behavior that might be unlawful, then a complaint is entirely appropriate. Otherwise, it might be better to count to ten and walk away.
Prepare your case before you start
When you make a complaint, you need to decide what you want the outcome to be. Are you looking for financial compensation, a simple apology or evidence that further action has been taken? Consider the facts of the situation and collect any evidence that you may need to substantiate your case. Review the complaint procedure for the business concerned, if one exists, so that you approach the right channels. Preparing your case before you get started can save a lot of time later on.
Adopt the right tone of voice
Whether you make a complaint in person, on the phone or in writing, it is important to take the right tone. Be polite and courteous. While you may be angry, you need to remain calm if you want to be taken seriously. Take time to explain things thoroughly and be objective about the situation. Don't use sarcasm or emotional criticisms but explain why you feel the way that you do. The quicker and more effectively that you can ensure the other party understands the situation, the quicker you may see resolution. It is vital that the business takes you seriously.
Record the details of everything
Never assume that you can rely on somebody's word or that the other person will do what they say they will do, when they say they will do it. For every conversation, record the date and time and the name of the person you spoke to. At the end of the conversation, reiterate what you believe was agreed as the next step. Agree when something will happen and how to follow it up. Keep records of all letters and emails, whether received or sent. Assume that your complaint is like a criminal case and be absolutely thorough from the outset. When the other party sees your approach, he or she will realize that you are serious.
Be prepared for a long wait
Resolving a complaint isn't always a quick fix. It can take a lot of time and correspondence and is often frustrating. Some businesses and individuals will hope that you go away and may simply try to make things difficult for you. When you make a complaint, therefore, you need to prepare yourself for a long wait and plenty of frustration ahead. If you persist, you will nearly always achieve the outcome that you want.