THE ART OF COMPLAINING, PART I
How to Complain and Get Results
Effective complaining - resolving complaints.
How to state what you want and get a refund, exchange or credit. Step-by-step explanation of who to talk to, what to say, what to write. Many examples of successful complaint resolutions.
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7.0 THE ART OF COMPLAINING, PART I; HOW TO COMPLAIN AND GET RESULTS
By Debi Drecksler
Recently after viewing several television commercials advertising a popular chain restaurant, my family and I decided to give it a try. Though the food was good, the service left a lot to be desired. It wasn't a poor attitude on the part of the food server that frustrated us, it was the complete lack of attention to the needs of the patrons. There did not appear to be anyone in charge in the entire dining area.
First thing, the morning after our disappointing dining experience, I called the corporate office and spoke to a woman in charge of consumer affairs. Before expressing my concerns, I complimented the restaurant chain on the excellent quality of the food. I did not want to put the young woman I was speaking to on the defensive. I wanted to offer constructive criticism that shed insight into the problems that existed. (When expressing concerns, it is always better to set a pleasant mood.)
The customer service representative listened carefully as I spoke and promised to address the issues brought to her attention immediately. Within days of our phone conversation, I received a letter from the restaurant chain. Enclosed were complimentary gift certificates for a future visit to any one of their restaurants.
The following week, my family and I returned, but once again the service was inadequate even with a different server. We discovered that the manager on duty was very busy in the kitchen and totally unaware of any problems on the floor. The next morning, I spoke once again with the customer service representative. Within minutes after the conclusion of our conversation, I received a call from the general manager of our local restaurant. At first he seemed apprehensive about talking to me, but rapport was quickly established when he realized I was more interested in offering suggestions than "bashing" his restaurant. The outcome was an invitation to return as his guests one evening. Most importantly, he really listened to my concerns and suggestions. The end result was a tremendous improvement in customer service.
The art of successful complaining is very simple. Remember that you will win people over faster with kindness and respect than you will with rudeness and anger. Try to put yourself in the other person's shoes. Would you want someone verbally abusing you? The bottom line is, most of the time, you get back what you give.