Effective complaining is letting a business know your issue and getting the result you desire. Utilizing effective complaining strategies to your advantage will empower you to have your voice heard, get your message across clearly, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
As an example of effective complaining in action, I recently opened a can of peas to add to the dinner I was cooking. I was horrified to find a large, winged insect floating right on top of my would-be side dish. I immediately knew that I wanted to let the company who produced the peas know what had happened, and also that I wanted a new can of peas: a can of peas of a different brand, that is.
So I contacted the company and was given a $5.00 gift card to the store where the peas were purchased (they were a store brand). I later received in the mail an additional $5.00 from the company who actually packed the product. $10.00 was more than enough compensation for one small can of peas. But how did I do it? Why do some companies respond so professionally and so generously while others brush off complaints with no compensation? Effective complaining has a lot to do with it.
If you have a complaint about a product or service you received here are the steps you need to take to get satisfaction. While not foolproof, these steps of effective complaining are indeed quite successful.
1. Start out with a compliment. The first step to effective complaining is to start out saying something nice. If you are on the defensive immediately then the company will be as well. For the peas incident I started my letter with, “I frequent [store name] often and have always enjoyed the great prices of your store branded products.” Letting the company know that you are a loyal customer and that you do indeed normally enjoy their products will get you on their good side from the get-go.
2. Show understanding. In addition to starting out with a compliment effective complaining also shows understanding. For instance, in my most recent letter, I wrote, “I understand that this mishap could have happened to any company, however, I am still disappointed with the product I received.” Letting the company know that you realize everyone makes mistakes will again get you on their good side.
3. Know what you want in return. The best way to get something out of your effective complaining is to know what you want from your complaint. Do you want a replacement of the product or would you like a refund of your money? Whatever it is you hope to gain from your complaint, make sure it is mentioned in the complaint. I asked for a replacement can of peas and ended up with $10, quite a bit more than what I actually asked for.
Effective complaining can be a helpful tool to get your voice heard and to obtain satisfaction. These steps will help you to become an effective complainer.