Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lessons in How to Complain Effectively

It's been a little bit since I posted. I've been messing with stupid things (like "Where's my life going, for real??!"), but I've got a new post now!

I don't know if you know this, but I work in jobs that have customer to me interactions all the damn time. I have seen a lot of good customer behaviors, such as thanking me when I do something positive for them, putting something back where it belongs when they don't want it (or just giving it to me so I can put it back), and asking if they can throw something in our trash can instead of just putting their gum on a shelf or that used tissue on the floor.

On the flip side, I have also seen a lot of poor to disgraceful customer behaviors. My biggest pet peeve in the world is screaming to get your way. There is absolutely NO FUCKING REASON to yell when you have a complaint or want something done. I will tell you right now that if you are polite, but insistent, I am more likely to not only give you what you want, but do something extra special for not being a total douchefuck about it. If you come in, complaint guns cocked and loaded, I will still give you your way, but will make it take 5x as long just because you're making me feel like shit. I may not always do it on purpose, but being stressed makes you take longer to process things. Ask any person who works in a service job. They will tell you the same thing.

So, I'm giving a simple lesson on how to get your way without resorting to becoming the Hulk.

Here's my own personal scenario. I spent $50 to get my roots redone and hair touched up last week. I have blonde hair, but have since dyed it dark brown, and it was time for a fix. It looked fine in the store, but when I got home under my own lighting, I notice that, where my roots grew out, the color was coppery, not at all chocolate brown. It didn't look too bad, so I thought I'd wait to see what my hair would look like after I washed it. I was careful, gentle, and used warm water and color safe shampoo/conditioner. Afterwards, my hair looked worse. So I called to get it fixed.

  1. Be polite from the start. I called with a calm voice (with just the slightest hint of remorse that I had to call). Being calm and polite from the get go puts the person you have to complain to in a state of ease, and makes them more sympathetic (instead of angry, because you're a raging douchefuck).
  2. Explain yourself thoroughly, but only with valid points. I told the girl exactly what I said above. Adding feelings and stuff to try and gain sympathy makes the listener want to scoff at your ridiculous portrayal of a sad situation. "I bought these sheets last night and saw a big run in the middle after putting them on the bed" is better than "I bought these sheets last night and the run was so obnoxious we couldn't use them and had to use our old, scratchy sheets. I got terrible sleep." I so don't care at that point.
  3. Avoid raising your voice. I don't just mean to not get angry. I mean don't raise your voice every other sentence and make a scene so that hopefully a manager will hear and come over and shut you up or I'll want you to shut up and give you what you want. I've had that happen, too. Being louder is absolutely unnecessary and just pathetic. You sound like a 2 year old who wants a lollipop. "I want one. I WANT one. I WANT ONE. I WANT ONE I WANT ONE IWANTONEIWANTONE!!!!! (<-----ridiculous)
  4. Be understanding of their policies, but be politely insistent to get what you need. A lady came in and had a late charge. She brought the movie back a day late. I told her the price of her new rentals plus the fee and she said she thought she was told it was due that day. I told her that mistakes happen and I've forgotten when things were due, and she didn't have to pay the whole thing today. She was polite, but insisted that since she remembers being told it was today, she shouldn't have to pay it. So I said.........ready for it? "Ok! I'll take care of it for you. I'll print off a receipt with the due dates for you so you know when they're due back." No screaming needed. Quick and easy. She was polite, but insistent upon having it her way. And I respect that. PLUS, any store will still do what they need to if it's good for the customer.
So, the end of my story is that, because I was so polite about it, they said they could get me in to have it fixed today, free of charge. I didn't demand it not cost anything, but because I politely asked if there was going to be any cost for me, she said no. I would have still gotten my way by screaming and accusing people like a freak, but I'd have to worry about coming away with worse hair, wouldn't I?

1 comment:

  1. Very good points we should all remember. It seems like so many more people are rude to service people than there used to be. I guess we'll just blame it on the economy!