How to Complain and Get What You Want


Sometimes things do go wrong. It’s a fact of life, and it’s impor­tant to know how to handle these situations so that you come away with the best possible outcome. Yet many of us are afraid of speaking up and complaining; we feel nervous and are more likely to nod when asked if everything’s OK in a restaurant rather than tell them the food’s cold or the service slow.

But complaining doesn’t make you a stroppy consumer, and saying something if you’re not happy is essential when it comes to getting value for money. Always remember, you’ve paid with your hard-earned cash, so why shouldn’t you get what you’ve paid for?

That said, there’s a real art to complaining effectively. We’ve probably all heard loud complainers who think they’ll get what they want by drawing attention to themselves, yet a complaint made in a friendly, short and succinct way often gets a quicker result – and usually the one you want.

So, here’s how to get your point across and get results.

Don’t be afraid to complain

Head Stateside and you won’t catch the Americans settling for poor service, so why should we? Would you throw $20 down the nearest drain? No? Well, why waste that or even more, simply because it feels a bit awkward to complain?

Yes, complaining can be daunting and intimidating at times, but if you don’t speak up you may go away an unhappy customer, feeling you’ve been ripped off or had a poor deal. It’s so much better to know what to do and say, so that you can handle the situation effectively and get what you deserve.

Complaining in the right way will get results, but it’s knowing how to complain, who to speak to and what to say that can speed up the process, avoiding much of the frustration and time wasting that can often be as annoying as the initial problem.

Don’t go mad

The worst mistake you can make (apart from not bothering to complain) is to shout or scream at the first person you speak to. They may not be in a position of authority and if you do this in shops it could mean you’re asked to leave or risk security being called. While it’s frustrating and annoying if you’ve had poor service or shoddy goods, you won’t get anywhere by let­ting rip at the first person you see or speak to.

You’ll actually get better results by staying calm and confident.

How to complain effectively

We all make mistakes – nobody’s perfect – but what sets the good companies apart from the poor ones is how they handle those mistakes. Do they try to cover up any problems or make excuses? Or do they hold their hands up, apologise and try to fix things?

Sorting out the problem could mean anything from a discounted bill to the offer of a free bottle of wine in a restaurant, or a good­will payment or gift voucher from a company that’s messed up.

While some companies will immediately offer to put things right, with others you’ll have to ask and say what you want. Say you’ve had a disappointing meal in a restaurant; in some cases if the company can get away with just an apology, they will. This is why, just like when you’re negotiating on price, you need to say what you want.

So, using the restaurant scenario, if you’re complaining that your meal is cold and it’s going to take twenty minutes to cook a replacement, it’s reasonable to expect complementary drinks while you wait, or you may prefer a reduction on the bill?

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Filed Under: Lifestyle & Personality

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About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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