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3 More habits of an effective complainer

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.

101 Habits if an Effective complainer book cover with logo

 

See  101 Habits of an Effective Complainer and for detailed help of laws, template letters information and advice get How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

 

 

But in the meantime here are three more tips:

shapes border how to improve your complaining habits

1) Believe complaining effectively is not negative

Many people will say that complaining is negative, brings down your mood etc. This can be the case, when you are not effective. Do something about the complaint. That is being positive, moaning can be damaging and bring you and others down. Saying “I complained and I got my refund/repair/redress…” etc. is a very positive statement which can encourage others to complain effectively and get results.

Complaining is good for your health! When I wrote an article about this on LinkedIn years ago there wasn’t anyone who disagreed! Peter, who provides leadership coaching and mentoring, said “Complaining is NOT negative – if that’s not a double negative !! 🙂 but some people exploit that perception in order to make you feel bad about raising concerns etc. Great businesses see complaints as a way of raising their game. Bad ones shoot the messengers, in general.”

2) Point out helpful feedback

If appropriate to the situation, point out to the company to which you are complaining that you hope that your feedback has been useful to them in developing their customer service. This demonstrates that you are looking to continue shopping with them if they handle the matter well.

Gavin Patterson was CEO of the BT Group from September 2013 until February 2019. He spent an hour each day responding personally to customer emails. See Calling all CEOs: please read emails from your customers and learn about your own business.

He believes that customer feedback is the single most important category of information coming into the business.

3) Don’t be opportunistic

Effective complainers are not about seeing a complaint every time they go into a shop or receive a service. It is simply about complaining when things genuinely go wrong.

Remember The Complainers documentary on Channel 4 in 2014? The Complainers Giving Complainers a Bad Name?

There were examples of people who complained just for the sake of it who went on and on and on at the same people for trivial things and they made themselves look very silly! As The Daily Telegraph put it “the difference between a valid complaint and a cathartic lashing-out was one of several distinctions largely ignored by The Complainers.”

 

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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Can’t find a company email address? Here’s how to get it!

Customer service: Email still beats webchat and phone calls

Many companies make it difficult for customers to complain.

I have always advocated writing to companies when complaining, for several reasons.

1) So that you have the evidence trail should you need to take the matter further

2) You can ensure that you have covered everything you need to do and

3) You can delete and rewrite if you are getting angry while drafting, which you can’t do on the phone!

Yesterday (1 July 2020) BBC Watchdog aired their investigation into companies which made it difficult for customers to contact them. It showed people not able to get through on webchat or being cut off on phone calls. It also showed how some companies refused to provide an email address for customer service. More businesses are doing this as people learn that to complain effectively and to go to an ombudsman – or go to court – they will need that written evidence to prove the case.

The programme covered Currys, Ikea, Three, Sainsbury’s. One viewer said he was 167th in the queue on a webchat and waited over an hour when it all disappeared and he had to start again. One caller was waiting for 5 hours and another for 7 hours trying to reach someone at Currys.

Sainsburys does not currently have a customer service email address. I discovered this back in February and when I asked them why this was, a spokesperson said “We regularly review our services and made these changes long before our priority delivery slots launched. Customers can continue to contact us via phone, Twitter and Facebook.”

Companies may be removing email addresses as a cost-cutting exercise, or deliberately, in order to make it more difficult for customers to complain. The more difficult it is to complain, the less likely people are to do it.

Chat bots can be irritating and like webchat you can’t guarantee you will have a record of everything. So you really want to email.email icon

How to email when companies don’t want you to!

However, it IS possible to email companies quite easily. The website Ceoemail.com provides the email addresses for the CEOs of companies free of charge. When emailing the CEO it is unlikely that the CEO will personally respond (although a few do) but it does get a response from the CEO’s executive team and you will have a written record of your complaint.

So for example, some of the companies named on BBC Watchdog as ones where you could not easily contact them by email plus a few more….. here you go…so now you can…

Currys

Ikea

Three

Sainsburys

British Gas

What about social media?

You can also use social media but do be aware that it has its limitations. People frequently say that they have successfully complained because they have used social media. Occasionally if used in the right way, your complaint is simple, the trader has a good social media team and the wind is in the right direction it may be possible to get a good result.

Used in the right way social media can be a good tool to name and shame and speed things up but that’s the limit., In the end you will still need to provide all the details off the public forum, which is as good as sending an email in the first place. See 5 ways how not to use Twitter to complain (and 5 ways how you should) to get the best from complaining using Twitter.

Successful companies are easily contactable and accountable

It is very shortsighted of companies to behave in this manner. In general people don’t mind when companies make mistakes, it’s how they deal with them that matters. If they make it difficult for customers to complain then those customers will tell others, the company’s reputation  and stop using the company..

But don’t be beaten!

Further help

See Top 20 Tips How to Complain! for how to write an effective email.

Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo

 

For masses of information, tips, guidance, laws and regulations and templates GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!