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Why It Pays To Complain (The Right Way)

Before you roll your eyes and think that this is just another blog post full of first world problems, think again. Long before I owned by own business, I worked in a slew of customer service jobs. Whether selling digital cameras at Best Buy, wrapping burritos at Chipotle or slinging lattes at Starbucks, those jobs taught me not only the importance of providing great service, but also how to complain (the right way) when things don’t go right.

Recently I had some incredibly positive interactions when complaining about poor service or other issues. Here’s some of the tips I find are most helpful:

Stay Calm

I was raised with the belief that you attract more flies with honey than you do vinegar. No matter the issue, screaming and yelling is far less helpful to all involved. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t lose my cool a few times, because I’m human after all, but it was witnessing a former colleague go absolutely apoplectic on a gate agent that left such an impression on me that even with some of the most frustrating issues, I’ve stayed cool as a cucumber.

Get Your Facts Straight

First and foremost, before you complain, let’s make sure the complaint is not your perception, but is an actual issue…you know in the real world. Countless times I got yelled at by folks who were confused by either taking the wrong drink, ordering the wrong thing or showing up to the wrong location. The only thing more embarrassing than making a scene is when you realize that you’re actually wrong.

Share the Situation

Sure, folks that work in customer service hear plenty of sob stories, but when you’ve got a specific issue and it’s impacting family or personal time, it’s far easier to get some sympathy. A flight delay or cancellation that’s impacting your departure for a vacation might get you a voucher, but a delay that kept me from attending a family milestone birthday, got me a voucher AND flight credits.

Provide The Solution/Result You’re Looking For

Many companies have standard policies for their employees to follow when attempting to fix service issues or address a complaint. For example, Starbucks hands out a free beverage coupon at the drop of a hat if you’ve got an issue. Airlines or hotels are now empowering front line employees to give points or miles right on the spot to help triage the situation. That’s all well and good, but there’s a way to ensure you don’t settle for the bare minimum.

Ed from Pizza in Motion taught me that if you have a reasonable make good (or resolution/alternative flight info/etc) you’re far more likely to get the best case scenario. You’re basically doing their job for them. By politely stating what you’d like to receive, as long as it doesn’t violate policy or exceed limits that need a supervisor, you’ll be a happy camper.

Do you have any sure fire strategies for getting more than the bare minimum when dealing with poor service or travel issues? Tell us on Twitter @thecoworkaholic!

The post Why It Pays To Complain (The Right Way) was first published on Coworkaholic.

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