Consumer Complaints: Tactics for Responding to Bad Customer Service

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Companies lose millions of dollars every year because they fail to satisfy their customers. Unfortunately, countless managers have not come to the realization that most of the time it’s due to poor customer service. And unless you, the consumer, repo

As a consumer, you expect to get what you want and need from the business you choose to patronize.  But I’m sure you can agree that this has not always been the case when supporting some venues.  However, in some cases it’s not worth reporting your bad experiences whereas in other situations the service was so terrible you feel the need to complain to the right authorities of that business---hoping to obtain satisfying results. You need not feel bad about your decision to complain. Companies lose millions of dollars every year because they fail to satisfy their customers. Unfortunately, countless managers have not come to the realization that most of the time it’s due to poor customer service.  And unless you, the consumer, report your bad experiences to the right individuals they may never know.  So whenever you receive really bad customer service you should report it to the manager of that particular venue in a timely and professional manner and I can testify that you will get results.  Here’s how!

Pick your battles sensibly

Keep in mind that due to the economic downturn many companies are short staff, as they have had to lay off many of its workers in order to stay in business. Hospitality, retail, and food-service industries seem to have a significant shortage of workers nowadays. Therefore, many workers are doing the work of two people while trying to effectively service the customers.  So before you report your bad experience, try to be understanding of any current circumstances that are beyond the individual’s control. Ask yourself, is this something that warrants a complaint?  Is this fair to the employee who really tried to effectively service me? 

Get your facts and evidence in order

To avoid exaggeration and any variation of the truth…before you contact the manager, you will need to get your facts straight. Jot down explicit details of your encounter. You should start by getting the name of the individual(s) who serviced you and the reason for your complaint. If you’re not able to obtain the employee’s name you should get a good description of the worker(s) involved so that you can relay it to the manager. Or you can check your receipt; sometimes the employee’s name is listed on it. If you feel you need evidence of your experience, you might keep your receipt handy, a defective product, the store location number, and any supporting documents that back your complaint.  Do not confront the employee! The employee does not need to know you’re gathering information for a complaint against them.  You need only relay your complaint to the manager when you contact him/her.

Contact the manger of the site

If you choose to contact the manager by phone, which is probably the quickest and most effective way, there’s no need to call screaming and speaking all sorts of profanity.  But you should try to remain calm, courteous and professional. You can call the company to obtain the manager’s name that oversees this location and a direct phone number where he/she can be reached.  The best time to call is probably in the morning hours or after lunch.  If you get the manager’s voicemail when you call~ simply leave your name, the reason for your call, and number where you can be reached. Someone should return your call within 2 business days.

If you opt to send a letter of complaint or an email, which by the way may take longer to get a response, you should be professional in writing as well. You would need to explain your encounter in detail and in an unambiguous manner. You will need to get the correct spelling of the manager’s name, the correct business address or email address so that it will reach the right person.  If you don’t get a reply within a week you should call the company to follow-up.  Keep a copy of your letter or e-mail as evidence that you sent it.

Results

After you explain your encounter to the manager by phone/or letter, he/she should offer an apology on behalf of the employee that rendered bad service or for a defective product, or bad produce, or what ever the case. Reputable companies want to keep their customers happy and will gladly offer a good solution to any problem they might have encountered.  This might result in a customer refund, a product replacement, a free meal, etc.  Moreover, it’s good business etiquette for the manager to offer the customer something of value for the bad experience they endured.  This might consist of a discount on your next visit, a gift card, or other nice freebie.  This is their way of saying ~ we are sorry for the inconvenience so please take this gift and continue to support us because we value you and appreciate your business~.

Tips:

If you don’t get the satisfactory results you desire after complaining to the general manager of this location, you can file a complaint with the company headquarters, contact the district manager or the cooperate manager of this operation.

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john doe
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