Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

How to Complain to Get What You Want

Three years ago, I decided to stay in San Luis Obispo for my first summer during college and become a California resident. Since I wasn't taking any classes, it seemed logical to get a job. I had formerly been a tennis instructor so working at the "Tennis Warehouse" seemed like a good job for me since I already knew a thing or two about tennis.

Before visiting the facility, I thought I would just be a racquet stringer, doing my thing in a little pro shop. I was planning on staying there for just the summer.

Ding Dong! You're Wrong!

The job was far more than just stringing racquets. The majority of my job was full on customer service, and I would string racquets in between calls. My job was to be a tennis and tennis product guru and to be able to help customers with anything!

The job worked out well for me and I became a supervisor in a little under a year. I'm very much a "people person," so I excelled at customer service. As a supervisor, one of the duties I was entirely responsible for was "new hire training." What was the biggest part of this training? Learning our system was some of it, but the majority was learning to provide EXEMPLARY customer service.

Working in customer service for two years really taught me a lot about business-consumer relationships. As a supervisor, I had to speak with anybody who had a complicated issue or complaint. I dealt with a whole hodge-podge of different people, and through these interactions, learned exactly what works, and what doesn't when complaining.

Since leaving that job, I've used what I've learned a few times with tremendous success! Ok, enough build up. Here it is:

1. Do not get angry! It's ok to be frustrated, and certainly I would encourage you to let the customer service representative (CSR) how you feel. When you get angry though, the CSR will immediately feel unjustly antagonized and naturally be less willing to optimally help you. The nicest, calmest ones are generally the people who CSR's feel sympathetic towards and will "go to bat" for you when requesting your compensation from a manager. I can't tell you how many times someone has called in yelling at a CSR (who is almost NEVER responsible for that customer's problem). Showing anger will only hurt your cause.

2. Expect a reasonable compensation. Have an idea of what is reasonable before you call. A reasonable expectation is more likely to be fulfilled by the business. If you call in demanding totally ridiculous compensation, you will likely get less than you would have had you requested appropriate compensation.

3. Demonstrate loyalty. If you have dealt with the business before, mention that you are a loyal customer. Repeat customers provide a huge percentage of business revenue both through their own purchases, and through their recommendations. This is the customer that a business HATES to lose and consequently they will try VERY hard to accommodate you. Also mention how pleasant your previous transactions have been, and that you'd hate your relationship to be soured from one incident! This is Gold!

4. Don't make threats. Most larger businesses are immune to: "I'm reporting you to the Better Business Bureau!" or "You'll here from my lawyer!" etc. This is silly and will probably do nothing but cause you extra heartache. Again, this will cause you to get on the bad side of whomever you are speaking with which is not in your best interest.

5. Say how you feel. Words like "frustrated" and "disappointed" are gold especially when said in a non-threatening or angry way. They elicit sympathy and compassion.

6. Make good assumptions. Mention things like "I know you strive to establish great business-consumer relationships but..." or "I understand you have a reputation for putting the customer first but I feel disappointed that..."

I'm smiling as I'm writing this because this is some great (and somewhat manipulative) stuff! Man I'm good...

Making positive assumptions about a business is a subtle way of twisting their arm into helping you! Once these things are said, they feel like they need to conform to the standards you have so nicely imposed on them! The social science term for this is "framing" where you use subtle language to make the other person conform to a certain behavior.

7. Be confident! Do not accept substandard compensation if you really do deserve more! Stand by your request and don't be a pushover!

If you adhere to these tips when making a complaint, any company worth their salt will cater to your requests! The bigger the business, the better these suggestions work! Why is this? Because usually a business cannot grow huge without providing exemplary customer service.

Happy complaining everyone!

UPDATE: I just released an ebook package entitled The Social Charmer It's a two book package, the second of which is a detailed guide to getting optimum customer service! If this article was useful to you, definitely check out The Social Charmer package as it is much more thorough than this post!


Anonymous said...

I followed these tips, when I called my DSL company. They sent me an upgraded modem and a month of free service.

Arun said...

That's awesome! I'm glad you found the tips useful!

Shaan said...

sorta irrelevant BUT here is my complaint history. It may prove helpful for those a little hesitant to complain:

Target: the ICEE straws were way too short and narrow for the ICEE, so i hit up corporate an email and got a 3 $3 gift cards alongside a written apology (the ICEE only cost $1)

Sprint: Free phones, often. Just call Retentions and talk about how you want to switch to another carrier.

Washington Mutual: 13 overdraft fees removed from my account (even though they were totally my fault)

the list goes on! Just send the higher ups detailed, polite complaints or evaluations and more often than not, they'll compensate you for your time in complaining and your loss in satisfaction QUITE generously

BUT don't abuse the system! Make your evaluations and complaints legitimate. If possible, provide SPECIFICS, (times, dates, location / store #s, employee names, the weather on that day)

Cathy said...

I just used your tips. Lets hope it works! Ill update you. Thanks!!!

Arun said...

Cathym DEFINITELY UPDATE ME! Hopefully it works out!

Anonymous said...

I enjoy free things. Everyone should live their life by absorbing all of the free things you can get. FREE. F-R-E-E, that spells... FREE, without payment, without financial damage, without putting a negative in your wallet.

We'll beat anyone's advertised price or your mattress is FREEEEEEEEE!! Anyone looking to buy a mattress, email me, I'll make a fake advertisement and you'll be getting free mattresses from there. It works!

Remember the golden rule: if it's not FREE, it's not meant to BE!

Life of Art said...

point 1, 5, 7 I did it, and its works. I have already complain in shopping center manager, that was my brain going to explode when they did something wrong to me, and I call them when I home. They felt sorry to me and thats will not happening again in the future for other people. And I canceled an insurance credit card from them, but its still waiting, cuz I need be calm. Thank you so much

Life of Art said...

point 1 5 7 works, thank you

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