10:44 03 September 2009
Complaining is a hard task. It takes us out of our comfort zone and sometimes even makes us feel guilty even when we are innocent.
Most of us avoid hassle, but like haggling, complaining can be a necessary evil and a useful tool in your arsenal. But how do you go about it without losing your head?
Know exactly what you're complaining about. It sounds obvious, but the person you complain to may have no idea and if you're stumbling your way through they'll struggle to help you. Write your predicament down and what exactly went wrong. You should have a paper trail set up without evidence, it's just hearsay.
Know what you want as a result. It's all very well and good chewing someone's ear on the phone asking for justice but if you're looking for compensation you need to be specific. Plan what you want in return; don't just hope to get lucky.
Know who you should contact. Usually a manager or a relevant complaint department will do the trick but be aware of being fobbed off. A useful backup to consider is taking your complaint to an authoritative body this may provoke a more sufficient response.
Know your limits. Are you prepared to take the matter to senior management, or, even further, to court if need be? Small claims court costs are low but it's a time consuming process that you may not want to become entangled with. Find out more about your legal stance here: http://www.howtocomplain.com/info/legal.shtml
Stay calm. This is the most important rule to abide by they're just doing their job after all, even if they don't do it very well. A calm, coherent conversation will provide results, while a shouting match will only conclude with closed doors or slammed phones. Be polite.
but be persistent. Predictably, you will be fobbed off and told why what you want simply isn't possible. Ask why. Also don't be derailed from the point firmly get back to the subject at hand.
Remember the sides of the story. There are always three sides to any story yours, theirs and the truth. Seldom do they agree with each other, but make sure you understand the details of each. Knowledge is power. Use what you know to get what you want.
Document the complaint. Whether it's written, recorded or over the internet, keep a track of what's going on and who said what.
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