How to Complain Effectively

3 min read
How to Complain Effectively

Learning how to complain effectively is a very good tool to have in your repertoire.

It is very easy to get upset at bad service, a product that doesn’t do what it should, what someone said, or didn’t say!  But it’s also easy to get angry at the wrong thing. Here are some tips on keeping your cool  and getting what you want! If done effectively, it can fix the problem with both parties walking away with dignity – and that’s a lifetime skill!

First of all, there is no point in getting angry, although this is a very easy trap to fall into.  If you are angry, it’s best to walk away until you can deal with the situation clear headed and logically.  Think carefully about what you want to achieve through complaining. Do you:

  • Want the product replaced?
  • Want an apology?
  • Want a different decision made?

To solve a problem effectively you need to voice exactly what it is that you want!

For a Faulty Product

If you get your purchase home, follow the instructions and it doesn’t work, before you jump in the car to storm in there, jump on the phone.  Politely explain to them the problem; there may be a chance they can fix it over the phone for you then and there!  It also makes them aware there is a problem should you have to return the item to the store.  Make sure you note down the time you called and the person you spoke to, and their contact phone number.  This is especially important if your dealing with a large company.

complaining | Stay at Home

For Faulty Servicing

You had someone come to fix an item around the house, they leave and it still doesn’t work. Again get on the phone.  You catch more flies with honey than vinegar as they say!  Get to the point, be nice, explain the problem and ask them how it can be fixed.  Again make sure you jot down times, names and contact phone numbers.

For Rude Service

The lady delivering your coffee got your order wrong – twice.  She spilt coffee all over your cute top then she proceeded to chat to her friends loudly in the corner.   Before screaming at her to get her act together, ask her nicely at first to correct the situation (ie coffee), if nothing is forthcoming, quietly approach a supervisor (if one is there) and explain what happened.  You never know, that waitress might have been up all night with sick children or just broke up with her partner, and whilst that is no excuse, sometimes you just have to cut people a bit of slack!

You’re Still Not Happy. What now?

Okay so you tried the nicely nicely approach and you’re still not happy. Now’s the time to put pen to paper.  Make sure you have the details of what happened (a photocopy of the receipt is always handy), who you spoke to and when, and the outcome.  Don’t exaggerate; just state the facts, and what you would like done about it.  Business owners want happy customers – not cranky ones who will tell all their friends – so leave it with them to chase it up.  If you still haven’t heard back after a week or two, place a phone call to that business and ask them to chase up the matter further.

Still not Happy?

Contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on 1300 302 502.  It’s their job to deal with situations like these and they will let you know your rights and where to go from there.

Jody Allen
About Author

Jody Allen

Jody Allen is the founder of Stay at Home Mum. Jody is a five-time published author with Penguin Random House and is the current Suzuki Queensland Amb...Read Moreassador. Read Less

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