We all have experiences of dealing with poor service from companies. From unexpected bills to faulty goods the list is endless.
However each of us has a different way of complaining and some people are more successful than others at getting what they want.
I want to give you 8 tactics to improve your complaints strategy and ensure that you get the desired outcome you want within the quickest possible timeframe.
1) Stop thinking that complaining is too much hassle. I want you to stop having that mindset! Yes we all have busy lives, but we can all spare thirty minutes a week to dedicate to a complaint where you have been unfairly treated. I want you to start complaining as a neccessity where you have a legitimate claim.
2) Know what leverage you have – look at your consumer and legal rights. It is important to know where the company has failed in their own processes or where they have potentially broken the law. Citizens Advice and Which? have advice on your legal rights, but also check the company’s service standard policies for service failures to reference in your complaint.
3) Identify what you want to acheive from your complaint from the start – I have seen many people complaining without being clear about what they want from the company. Make it clear what you want from the start, e.g. compensation or improved service, so the company is aware of what you wish to achieve. Being clear in your aim could help speed up your complaint resolution.
4) Don’t complain by phonecall – whilst you may wish to let off steam with a customer advisor, you will not have a written record of actions to be taken following your complaint.
For example if you follow up a complaint three weeks later and you have no written proof, a company could discredit your complaint which could delay the entire process.
5) Keep a written record of everything – one of my golden rules! Make sure any communication you have with the company is saved on your computer or email account in an easily accessible place with good document control, i.e. documents name and dated. This will save you time when you may have to refer back to the complaint in several weeks.
6) Know how the company’s internal complaints process works and use it to your advantage. Every company has a different way of handling compaints. Most companies will have a complaints handling timeframe that should last no longer than eight weeks. Find that webpage or ask a customer service advisor if you cannot find their complaints handling process.
7) Play The Waiting Game. After making your initial complaint you may not hear back from the company for several weeks. Keep reasonably chasing that complaint!
As a a quick tip, set two reminders on your phone, one for four weeks after your initial complaint and the second for eight weeks after your initial complaint – This will ensure you don’t forget about it!
8) Know when to escalate your complaint. After eight weeks since your initial complaint you will likely have the ability to escalate your complaint to an independent dispute resolution scheme, if you feel the company has not achieved the resolution you wanted.
There are many dispute resolution schemes across many industries, so I have listed some of the most common below:
- Retail ADR – Consumer/Retail
- Aviation ADR – Airlines
- Ofgem – Energy Companies
- Communications Ombudsman – Telecoms Companies
- Housing Ombudsman – Letting Agents and Landlords
Check the relevant resolution scheme website and see what types of complaints they can handle. If the relevant regulator supports your complaint, the company will be contractually obliged to follow their decision.
If you follow my tactics you will have greater complaints resolution success. You will not get anywhere by becoming angry with the company or damaging their reputation through social media.
Think logically, keep all your communications in one place and know your escalation process. If you follow my tactics you will eventually get what you deserve!