Tag Archives: consumer complaints

How to Complain to Get Results

As I’m now in the middle of a bunch of problems with Amazon, it occurred to me that most people don’t really know how to complain effectively. Oh, sure we complain, but you need to do it in a way that the business will help you, refund you, fix the issue, or even just pay attention to you.

We typically call the 800-no service number and get mad. And after we give them a piece of our mind, we often end with “I’ll never deal with you again.”

What’s the point of working to make you happy just to have you deal somewhere else?

If a relative needs help with something, would you? Of course! You know them, like them, they say please and thank you, they’re grateful and you feel great that your time and talents made a difference to someone. THAT is what you need to remember when you call the 800 number. You’re dealing with someone that will take 50 to 100 or more calls in a shift, makes maybe $15 an hour, has supervisors pushing to deal with stuff quickly, and has been talking to mad people, many of whom lie, for six hours already.

Always stay calm, don’t raise your voice, don’t threaten, stick to the facts, and start with a one-sentence statement of what you want. Say please, and be pleasant, and tell the person you really appreciate them helping you. That will solve 75% of your issues. Do write down the date, time, and name of the person you’re speaking to.

Step two is to escalate the matter if you’re running into a brick wall of no help. Find a vice president of customer service, marketing, your bank’s regional manager, or whatever area your complaint falls under. Go online or ask one of your kids to do it for you. You want the contact information for a regional manager or vice president. The CEO isn’t calling you back, but one or two levels down, that person will pass your SOS request to someone that WILL fix it for you – guaranteed.

Send an email or a letter – one page tops. Again, write what you’d like at the top, remind them how loyal you’ve been and how shocked you are that such a great company hasn’t fixed this for you. Include the dates, times, and who you called already, with no results. I’ll guarantee you’ll have someone get in touch within 24-hours!

With Amazon, I found the email for the Canadian VP on Linked-in. The next day I had $60 refunded on my seller account, and someone from his office on the phone.

With my cable company, and the world’s slowest internet, the Vice President’s office had a “special issues” incredibly helpful supervisor call me from their BC office the same day, and a technician was at my house the next morning, with a follow-up visit, and a call every week to see how my internet was now performing.

Stay focused, factual, calm, and nice and you’ll get what you deserve. You really do catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

As Consumers: We’ve Got the Power

I often get e-mails and feedback from people frustrated with bad service, high rates, or rip-off fees.

But you have to believe that you and me as customers really do have the ultimate power. We often feel there’s nothing we can do about fees, charges, interest rates, or really bad customer service. But that’s not true at all. You have total power to fire any company you choose, and that’s the best and ultimate power of all.

One of the most powerful stories, which is now being heard around the world, is of a Halifax musician. I can relate to this story and my personal horror stories with this company. It’s from a musician by the name of Dave Carroll.

Dave flew on a United Airlines flight out of Halifax. When he got his guitar from checked baggage, it was damaged. He filed a report, and did what he was told to do. But United told him: too bad – they were not covering the damage to his guitar.

Well, Dave wasn’t done – AND he’s a musician. He proceeded to actually write a song called: United breaks guitars. But get this: He posted his song on You Tube (here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo&feature=fvst ). So far, this video has been viewed more than FIVE MILLION TIMES.

At about two million views, United had a change of heart and contacted Dave to pay for a new guitar. Too late, Dave told them – it’s been two years, but did tell them they could donate the money to charity.

Another Canadian story is a web site on twitter where Canadians can vent their frustration at banks and their service, fees, or the likes, or just give others a heads-up on some bad practices. It’s been set up by ING Direct, the 7th largest company in the world, and a great alternative to the no-service banks, in addition to credit unions.

Sadly, ING takes out the specific bank, because they do not want to appear to be one bank knocking another. But all the information is there, ranging from a petition to venting and a number of polls. You can access it at: www.fairfees.ca

The Financial Times of London did an extensive survey asking who we actually trust. And for 92% of us it’s word of mouth from friends, associates, or colleagues. That compares to around 60% for traditional advertising.

The lesson is that a companies’ image is not what they it is, but what real people experience in the real world and spread through word of mouth.