Sunday, November 29, 2009

How to complain effectively and get compensated for it

I try to not to make it a habit, because let us face it, we all have had poor experiences with a Customer Service Representative, but sometimes you need to strike back by writing a complaint letter.  While it does take some time to pen a letter, it can be quite worth it. First, getting something off your chest is often what you are seeking deep down inside. However, secondly, it is good to point out when an employee or business has erred, because ultimately, the rest of us benefit from a lesson learned. Thirdly, there is a chance that a company will compensate you for your inconveniences.

Now, there is a right way and a wrong to complain. I have the following advice that should help you communicate a successful complaint: (1) know a store's policy (if applicable). Should your grievance stem from a violation of a store policy, (return policy, guarantee, etc.) be sure to cite it in your letter. At a minimum, this shows that you care enough to do your homework and are not simply complaining for the sake of doing so. It is easy to find store policies on their website, look under “Contact Us” or “Frequently Asked Questions” sections that are often at the very top or bottom. (2) Keep your receipts. You are not going to get far without documentation of your purchase, so do not even bother writing or calling if you do not have one. Loss-prevention is a constant battle for retailers, so if you claim you bought something and need to return it and you do not have a receipt, the burden is on you. (3) Know whom to contact. Usually, a store clearly posts customer service information on their website. However, in the event that it is not, do a little research by calling a company's 800 number and learn who you need to raise your grievance with by getting an appropriate department and name, if possible. (4) Be firm, but calm. No one likes an angry, belligerent customer, especially if they are unfamiliar with policies and procedures. Know the rules, keep your cool, and act like an adult. (5) Be patient. Do not expect an immediate response. It could take several days between when you lodged your complaint and any acknowledgment. With any luck, your case will be resolved equitably, and perhaps better, in your favor.

The method and length of your communication is up to you to determine.  Many companies now have resorted to using Twitter to solve problems.  This can be a quick, efficient means to solve your problem, if it is relatively simple in nature.  However, for more complex issues, a neatly presented, grammatically correct communique should receive a higher level of attention and hence response (financial or otherwise).

Should you have a grievance, I would love to hear about it and help you, if I can, in resolving it.  I personally love it.