Dubai Consumer Mirror

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Art of Complaining

“I’d like to speak your manager!” is typically the first thing that comes out of one’s mouth when feeling wrongly done by a bank, shop, restaurant.... etc

As paying customers, we tend to walk around with the notion that – no matter what the situation is – we are 100% correct, just because we are paying customers.

Though, that could be true, if you look at it from an extremely narrow perspective. However, in our pursuit of good customer service, it pays much better when we, the paying customers, come closer to our service providers. Attempt to see things in their perspective and accept that fact that things tend to go sour from time to time.

Here a few tips of how you can get what you want (and even more) from any organization you are dealing, and before you go all gung-ho on everyone in the company:

First of all, be honest…
To yourself mainly; did it really bother you THAT much? For example: if you had to wait 5 extra minutes on hold when calling an organization… Doesn’t that beat having to drive all the way to the place, look for parking, take a number, wait for your turn, see an exec, explain the situation, get a “we will look into it and let you know… NEXT”.

Be Objective
Strip off the emotional, ego bruised side of things and stick to the facts. When complaining, make sure that your complaint comes from the fact that you are not receiving what you paid for and hence, is rightfully yours. Full stop.

Some people get under the impression that they earned the right to get ANYTHING, ANYWHERE in ANYFROM they wish.

Here is a trick. If you feel you’ve been shafted, take a deep breath, sleep on the problem for a couple of days and then decide to act, if you still feel like its worth it.

You’d be surprised how faster/better people respond to a calm, reasonable person on the other side of the line.

Be Positive
Demonstrate goodwill. For example, tell the company that you have always admired the product/service. Such positivity will most likely get the company to act faster/better so that they don’t loose you as a long-time loyal customer.

Be Understanding
Express in your letter/call that you actually understand that shit does happen sometimes (don’t use the precise wording, but you get the gist of it, I hope). Such recognition demonstrates modesty and humbleness – this can get people become more compassionate with your case and respond faster/better to your problem.

Be Selective
Seek the right people to talk to. Saying things like: “I’d like to speak to your supervisor,” “get me your manager,” or “take me to your leader” .. does not usually take your complaint far enough. It might get you to speak to a ‘team leader’ or whoever is ‘in charge’ during that shift.

I’ve managed to get Senior VPs, CEOs and Chairmen to call/email me back in response to complaints I’ve made about their originations, products or services. I got their names (and sometimes their emails) from my only highly trusted and reliable source: Mr Google.

Even when you don't get to speak to them, mentioning their names can get the customer service agent to be more alert to your complaint, hence respond faster/better.

Be Respectful
No body likes a cynical smart ass. So, resist the temptation to get on your snappy, sarcastic side and stick to straight factual language. And I believe it goes beyond saying that name-calling and personal attacks are the most guaranteed ways to get your complaint to a dead end.

Remember, its not about YOU or the PERSON you are dealing with. Its about a situation you both are trying to resolve.

Be Precise
Last, but not least, document –whenever is possible- everything. Every encounter you had during the complaining process. Save sent emails, fax confirmation slips, record telephone conversation if you can and note down names, time and dates of every person you spoke to.

That doesn’t only show that you’ve ‘done your part’, it also helps the company get to the bottom of your complaint, hence help you resolve your problem much effectively.


If you’ve done most of the above, I truly doubt that you won’t get a decent reaction to your complaint, to say the least. However, if you get zero response or one that is lukewarm, then my advice is to black list that comapny, look for alternative and move along. Life is too short to dwell over spilled milk.


  • Great tips. Thanks for sharing

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 22, 2009 at 11:43 AM  

  • Thanks dude! Which is precisely why DHL responded swiftly to my problem - I was very objective by assessing the service I got vs the service they offer on their website!

    And I didn't sue for psychological damage.

    I think people started to make a fuss about anything since they think they can get more than they bargained for - the "caution: hot contents" label on an obviously hot cup of coffee is proof enough.

    By Blogger KJ, at June 22, 2009 at 1:42 PM  

  • excellent

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 22, 2009 at 4:36 PM  

  • te3jebni!!!!

    actually i thought of u recently when i got fucked (as a customer) by the manager at grand festival cinemas..

    this happened 3 weeks ago but i wanted to post about it however i thought on uaecb it would be a waste of my time, but here it's different.

    well, i went to watch a late night movie (i.e. empty theatre) of a movie that was almost finishing (ya3ni more emptiness) and i went by bike.. so i paid the ticket (i was alone) and waltzed into the cinema.. the goons at the door said helmets are not allowed when they allow many larger objects like the bellies of some men and the handbags of some women.

    i complained politely and asked for the manager who then arrived. i explained that this is not fair, especially since i don't like to wait for the helmet and i chose a seat at the end of the row just so i can keep the helmet safe, he said no ,your seat is not on the row! this is when i lost my temper a bit, coz obviously i chose the seat from the screen a few seconds ago.

    anyway things were going no where with the gaylord manager from NZ (with an even bigger gaylord belly) until i noted politely to him ( i kept calling him Sir, and it bugged him) that in my almost 10 yrs in the UK I've never been told that the helmet is banned from the cinema.. and then he came to tell me how when i live in the uae i should follow uae law..

    at that point i just wanted to nail the bastard, and my movie was starting, so i surrendered the helmet and went in.

    when i came out, i got the helmet back and it was scratched on the visor (the bit you look through!) making it dangerous to drive at night. when i told the gaylord (Sir) he said "it's hard not to scartch a helmet", and again i lost it a bit but stayed polite..

    anyway i used the lovely google, and i found this guy's boss and i sent him a firm but polite e-mail with just the facts the next day.

    i pointed out that the manager was rude and irresponsible by allowing it to be scratched, and he was racist as well because surely if i waltzed there with a kandoora + 3igal he would have not dared to talk, but coz i was wearing trousers (it's hard to ride with a kandoora) he decided to throw the book at me. only a racist manager treats others based on their nationality.

    i got a response in less than 24 hrs and a letter of apology and 10 cinema tickets.

    the lovely bit is that the cinema changed their policy and now if you ever need to take a motorbike helmet to a grand cinema they should allow you to do so.

    i gave the tickets away to friends and family, but i kept one for myself and i went last week just to test the new policy out, and i bumped into gaylord too.. his face has changed since i last saw him..

    at least he didn't lose his job hehehe

    yalla , next time inshalla.

    By Blogger BuJassem, at June 22, 2009 at 6:14 PM  

  • Very good advice

    By Blogger Dave, at June 23, 2009 at 8:22 AM  

  • Great post!

    By Blogger samuraisam, at June 28, 2009 at 3:01 AM  

  • Anon 11:43 - thanks

    KJ - you should've, not sure how it would help .. who knows ;)

    Anon 4:36 thank you

    Buj - what an ass ... fine. He was a stiffed up tightass on the rules. To scrath you visor is beyond childish and reveals a sick, twisted persona .. this guy needs professional help.

    Dave, Sam - always great to see you here guys .. thank you

    By Blogger moryarti, at June 28, 2009 at 3:30 PM  

  • Neat post Mory!

    Mr BuJ, I can't believe they put your through that sort of crap, WOW! I'm sorry, but you've got a legit 'reason' - screech those tires and bloody 'em I say :)

    By Blogger rosh, at July 7, 2009 at 7:34 PM  

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