How to complain effectively

In an ideal world, we would never have troubles with products we buy or services we use. Customer care would be wonderful and we would be able to rely on quality every time. Sadly, that is not the real world and all too often things go wrong sometimes due to neglect or sometimes by accident. How do you react when things go wrong? If you are like me, you let your emotions get the better of you and rant quite a lot or get upset. You might feel powerless. The important thing is to calm down and have your say in a firm but reasonable way. Here are some quick tips on how to complain effectively.

Think positive

If might be that just pointing out what you are upset about leads to the issue getting resolved. A quick phone call or email can work especially if you are dealing with a reputable company. I think if your complaint is dealt with politely and you get a positive resolution, it is nice to give the company a mention on social media and to your contacts.

Write a letter

If doing it the nice way doesn’t work, it is time to get things down in writing. I trained in the Law and I like to have a paper trail of things. Keep a copy of any correspondence you send to a company you are in dispute with. By putting pen to paper, you let the company concerned know you are not messing about. You respect yourself enough to take action to get the matter resolved.

Be clear and concise

Set out the facts as you see them in cold and clinical terms. Describe the item or service you purchased and your problem. Include details of where you bought the service or product and the name of the store or individual concerned. Include serial, account and model numbers if relevant. Say exactly what you would like them to do to resolve your issue with them and set deadlines.

Avoid undue emotion

It’s OK to be upset but be careful how you express it. The more you rant the less seriously you will be taken and the easier they will find it to dismiss your point of view. Anger, sarcasm, aggression or threats will make an enemy of the very person you want to help you. Be reasonable and you may get your problem resolved that much quicker.

Include copies of relevant documents

You need to collect your evidence so keep things like receipts, work orders, and warranties. You also may want to send these with your letter of complaint along with copies of emails and notes from conversations you’ve had with the seller about the problem. Keep your originals.

You may want to send your letter by recorded delivery to give you proof that the company got your letter and who signed for it.

If you are dissatisfied with the response to your complaint, seek free advice from a charity like your local Citizens Advice Bureau and/or contact Trading Standards at your local authority.
Bizzy with complaints

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Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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