No one likes a complainer, but believe it or not, businesses do!  Retailers consider a complaint letter a gift, because they want to know if you are dissatisfied with a product or service.  They want you to keep coming back and they don’t want you complaining to your friends about the bad experience.  Effective complaining can get us what we want:  that cheaper price, a free meal, or our money back.

According to a recent survey, 78% of us have complained to companies about bad service, but do we do it right?

Here are some tips on the art of complaining:

First, track down a website, e-mail address, or some way to contact the company.  Companies are now making it easier to complain because a good company wants to satisfy us.  Consumers who aren’t happy not only don’t come back, they tell other customers.  Companies are upgrading their web sites and redesigning their packages to include toll free numbers and web site information to make it easier to complain.

Be sure to document everything.  If it’s a product, state when and where you bought it, the name, model, and serial number. Include a copy of the receipt.  If it’s a service, mention the location, date and time, and the name of the employee who waited on you.

Explain in detail what happened.  State the problem clearly. Be brief. Don’t rant and rave – be businesslike and objective.

Say what you want.  A refund? A new product? Or just an apology? Don’t leave it up to the company to decide how to remedy the situation.

Keep a copy of everything you send.

If you’re still not happy, use blogs or web sites to tell others.

Over the years in my classes, Duquesne students have written numerous complaint letters when they’ve had service problems.  About half of them got a response, and one out of three got a gift certificate or some kind of reimbursement.

Compliments can reap benefits, too.  Companies will reward you if you tell them what you like.

Don’t be like the Rolling Stones, Get Some Satisfaction…  Gripe, but Gripe Right!

It does pay to complain!