One thing we don’t do well here in the UK is complain enough. I am not sure why – maybe it’s because we don’t want to cause problems. Maybe it’s because of our stiff upper lip or that fact that we do not like to create drama. Maybe it’s because we fear the backlash – leaving a bad review or making a complaint could lead to people thinking we are “whiny”, “whingey” or “trouble causers”. In my years I have come to learn that as a nation we love to moan about problems or issues or concerns – but when it comes to actually making a complaint, we are either afraid or we don’t actually know how to.
I however love to complain – especially about poor service or problems that have or will leave me out of pocket. I get so annoyed and fed up with companies thinking they can take advantage of people. They continue to take money from you, however the product or service is no longer right for you, or you are not happy as you know that other people are getting a better deal -and why shouldn’t you complain? We should stand up for ourselves. My husband tells me all the time I need to learn to stand up for myself more because I am pretty rubbish at it (I have a fear of face to face confrontation) however I have learnt to complain well on the phone and via letter/email.
To date I have managed to get (and this is through both verbal complaining over the phone or via letter) six months free bowling, a brand new different mobile phone on the contract I was on (this was five months into the contract) free sweets, free crisps, money off vouchers and out of paying bills. Its amazing what you can achieve when you set your mind to it.
This week I have had to sort out a couple of issues – that were complaints. I have managed to get us a full refund on one thing and money off another. I have also given my brother’s girlfriend some advice on how to complain about an issue she has encountered this week and I thought it would good to share some of my tips on how to complain should you find yourself in the position where you need to.
- Have all your facts written down in front of you: Make yourself a timeline of all the facts. I make myself a list using bullet points of what the issue was/when it occurred and the contact I have had since. I find this helpful as you know what it is like when you ring and speak to a call centre – you don’t always get to speak to the same person.
- Take note of the name of the person you are speaking to or a call reference number for the call (some companies give these out as they record calls): this makes it easier for companies to locate recorded calls – as despite all of their best intentions – sometimes the notes on file aren’t exactly the best (I used to work in a call centre and know this first hand)
- Be polite, but firm: I always find it best to be polite with people (as I don’t have time for rude people) and I always think it helps to build up a bit of a rapport with the person on the phone. Don’t take everything they say as gospel though – state your case and stick to your guns. I always tell the call handlers that my complaint or issue is not as a direct result of something that they have actually done – its due to the service that I have received and ask them to please not take it to heart.
- Ask to speak to a manager or a member of the complaints team: with all the will in the world – the call handlers you speak to don’t have authority to make certain decisions when it comes to resolving issues. Do not be afraid to speak to a manager or a member of the complaints team.
- Always say thank you at the end of the call: Again – it’s all about being polite. Thank the person for their help – even if they haven’t been able to help as you may have wanted them to.
On top of these key 5 tips – a few other things to take into consideration include:
- Being aware of you right to go to the correct authorities (Financial Services Ombudsmen, Trading standards etc.) as you are within your rights to do this.
- Check the website of the company that you are wanting to complain about for their complaints procedure, be aware of it and follow it if you need to.
- If you are ringing a company to discuss you TV or phone contract – always ask to speak to the disconnections department – as they have even more power to give you anything (within reason) to keep you as a customer.
I hope you find them tips and information useful. Please do let me know if any of them are helpful or if you have any others that I could use in the future.
Until next time
Katie x x x