8 Tips for Resolving a Complaint
1. Make sure that the customer service representative you are talking to has the authority to make the changes you desire. If they don't, don't waste your time. Immediately ask to talk to someone who does, or his or her supervisor. Sometimes they will not want to get their supervisor. They may get a less favorable rating if they send too many cases to their supervisor. You need to insist on a supervisor. They cannot help if they don't have the authority to make a change.
2. Start with your facts. What happened that was unsatisfactory, when, where, etc. Try to keep your rage under control here. This is not the time to vent. "Your product is inferior," is not a fact. It is an opinion. "When I try to turn on your product, nothing happens,” is a fact. Stick to the facts.
3. Ask for their interpretation of the situation. There may be an alternative explanation you hadn't considered, and listening to their side will make them more willing to listen to your interpretation.
4. Provide your interpretation and what you want them to do about it.
5. Ask them what they are prepared to do to remedy the situation. If their answer is unsatisfactory, ask to talk to a supervisor. Supervisors are frequently more attuned to public relations and may be more willing to help.
6. If the supervisor is also unwilling to help, consider what other sources of leverage you can use, and what are you willing to use. Consider positive and negative repercussion that could come from using them. What sources of power do you have?
- Position Power: Do you know someone who could influence the decision because of thee position they hold?
- Reward Power: Can you show how they benefit by meeting your needs?
- Penalty Power: Can someone penalize them if they don't comply? This might include regulatory agencies that oversee their industry.
- Referent Power: Generally this involves celebrities or other influential people they want to be like.
- Expert Power: Bring in outside experts, even some frequently used in court testimony
- Communication Power: Your ability to persuade, and convince the decision maker to your point of view.
- Networking Power: Spreading the word over the Internet. This can be positive or negative feedback. I know someone who tweeted about an impolite airline attendant. By the time they finished their flight the attendant apologized. Someone from headquarters had been monitoring tweets about their company.
7. Consider outside intervention or mediation, such as the Better Business Bureau or your state Attorney General.