Habits of an effective complainer – Tips 7, 8 and 9

Techniques to improve your complaining skills!

If you are not used to complaining, don’t like complaining, get fobbed off easily, but don’t like being out of pocket there are things you can do to help you improve your technique. See the new book 101 Habits of an Effective Complainer 101 Habits if an Effective complainer book cover with logo

Here are a few taster ideas in my series

7)   Keep evidence

Effective complainers have all the evidence at their fingertips. Collate copies of receipts, emails and take pictures, where necessary. Send copies of evidence where appropriate. For example, receipts for travel or if a faulty washing machine has destroyed some clothes, send pictures of the damaged clothes.

If you prefer working on paper, keep everything in a ring-binder that’s easy to find. If you prefer working on the computer, make a folder on the hard drive for each case. Then store all the relevant documents in that folder. You might even use a combination of the two methods.

The Chief Ombudsman of Ombudsman Services informed consumers on a guest blog post Energy ombudsman shows how to keep heat on your supplier for The Complaining Cow, “Poor energy supplier responses can leave consumers feeling that the problem won’t be resolved without help. But Ombudsman Services can only help after a consumer has tried to resolve the problem with the energy supplier direct for several weeks. As frustrating as it is, consumers should plug away with the energy company. Be clear about what the problem is and what needs to be done to put it right. Do it in writing otherwise it is one person’s word against another and the Ombudsman always makes decisions based on evidence.”

8)   Be assertive

Probably one of the most important habits. Decide what you want, and stick to it in all your correspondence or conversations.

A friend of mine wrote to EasyJet a few years ago. She was trying to get a refund on flights home when her husband’s mother was dying. Her online chat was full of “love from”s” and kisses! She wasn’t getting anywhere! I wrote an email for her that stated the facts, the breach of policy and what I wanted to happen. She got her refund! Full story How to win when EasyJet’s customer service fails.

9)   Be honest

Keep to the facts and don’t add in things that didn’t happen and weren’t said. If you lie you are likely to be found out and you will give effective complainers a bad name! Trying to obtain money with false information is fraud and could get you a fine or jail term.

I started to get interested in a Facebook group set up for people to share their negative experiences with a large kitchen company. There were lots of horror stories and pictures of broken drawers and badly fitting doors etc. I contacted the company in question and asked them about the allegations and “evidence” of one such kitchen. They clearly proved that the images were from a consumer who had bought the items on a “supply only” basis and therefore it was not responsible for the fitting. The company’s lawyers had been watching this group, before being successful in shutting it down. It started up again and the number of people as a percentage of customers complaining about this company is actually tiny, however vocal they may think they may be on social media. This is the reason perhaps that the company has not taken action but it is certainly watching….

Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo


For lots of help, consumer laws, advice and  templates GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!



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O Come All Ye Faithful… Shoppers

Ding Dong Merrily, or Not?

It’s the first of December today. That’s when Christmas festivities can start, right?

Apparently not. They now seem to start much earlier, with music already being played in shops and the same old tunes playing over and over again, driving staff crazy in the process.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about Christmas songs being played in the shops in November. Most people said it was too early. Some thought that retailers believed it helped increase festive sales.

Daryl Mitchell from Freedom Music, who works with retailers in providing overhead music and messaging, said that we would find that most retailers have 20% Christmas tracks during November. That ratio will increase in December to 40% and 60%. Most shops will then increase up to 80% during the week before 25 December. “We partner with over 300 of the major retail brands on the high street and none of them play Christmas music all day every day during November”, he said.

Perhaps smaller retailers don’t adhere to this but consumers feel that it is the big brands that are constantly playing Christmas music.

So, guess what I did? I ASKED consumers. I did that little thing that so few retailers do, because think they already know best. On my Facebook Business page I simply put:

Christmas songs playing in shops in November.

The majority, 68% of respondents, said they did NOT like it. 8% of those replying even said it made them walk out of the shop.

Comments included “makes me even more inclined to shop online” and “Awful, I leave the shop straight away!” Although one did say “Yay!!! Me and my toddler were having a snazzy dance to Xmas songs in Morrissons and he loved every minute of it.”

Perhaps it is good for those companies aiming at people with young families?

One person said “Here in Haywards Heath we have had to put up with it in Mark’s and Spencer, staff and customers alike have complained. Meanwhile, in Crawley Mall a poll was conducted and they will not start until 1 December, the right decision, I feel.

There it is again… asking consumers (and your staff!) and acting upon the responses.

Not one person who works, or has ever worked, in retail said they were happy with it though! Retailers would do well to listen and act upon feedback from staff. After all, happy staff provide better service….

A gin store in York banned cheesy modern Christmas music for the sake of its staff. They play Christmas music but there’s a cut off for anything after the 1960s!

Do you think that bosses believing they know better than their customers and staff, who speak to customers every day, about what they want is an arrogant way to behave?

How to save money when shopping for Christmas and in the sales


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