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The Art of Complaining: How to “Complain” The Right Way


Not all customer service reps are so nice!

Sometimes being frugal means also standing up for what is right. It might mean demanding a refund when a product fails, or insisting on a replacement, or demanding a company honor their word when you were told something would be done. These are all things that a savvy consumer should know how to do. Here’s some ways to get what you want, and none of them involve throwing a tantrum!

Let me preface this post by saying I have worked in customer service…in one form or another…for 15 years. I know a thing or two about how to keep customers happy. I know that sometimes people just need to vent about a frustration, but I also know that sometimes my company did something wrong, and we need to go above and beyond to correct it. The problem is, I am not the person who is answering YOUR call. Here’s how to get what you need:

1. First Call Resolution- In an ideal world, this is how it goes. You call, you tell the person on the other end your story, and they fix what’s wrong. In the real world, that doesn’t always happen. The single most important thing for you to remember is to stay calm. The person on the other end is not your enemy. You need them on your side! Plead your case, ask for their help. Scream at them, and suddenly their desire to help you disappears. Do yourself a favor and remember the Golden Rule. This person is most likely going to have to go out of their way to fix your problem—would you go above and beyond for someone screaming obscenities at you? Keep your cool!

2. Escalation- If things are not going the way you hoped, don’t just demand a supervisor or you may hit a wall. Politely thank the rep, tell them you appreciate that they are trying to help you, but say something like “I think that I might have to go further up the chain of command to get results”. Make sure you let them know it’s nothing they did wrong personally, but that you would like to speak to a supervisor, lead, or “resolution expert”.

3. Go Viral– ONLY after steps 1 and 2 have failed, and you still cannot get your problem resolved, you need to take further action. This part can get tricky, but bear with me. You want to go to the Facebook page of the company in question (NOT Twitter, I will explain why in a minute) and post on their wall. Be concise, professional and firm. CALMLY state the initial problem, the steps you have taken to resolve it, reference the lack of action on the part of that company (what they have done that has made it worse, how they ignored you, etc) and explain how disappointed you are with the service.  Do not make threats, do not make personal attacks. DO NOT name names of specific employees. Simply, you will want to explain your story in brief, and finish off with something like:

“I purchased my new car from Company ABC because I was told they delivered great customer service, but judging from the lack of resolution with my complaint, I can see that this may not be the case. I am very disappointed in the level of service I received, and I am going to have to consider taking my business elsewhere.”

The reason we are doing this on Facebook is two fold: Twitter is too instantaneous-one minute it’s there, the next minute its gone. Facebook posts have staying power. That is on their wall until they delete it (which is a whole other can of worms). Secondly-because social media is the newest platform to get your voice heard. Think about it: when you call in to a customer service line, you complain to one person…who you depend on to feel your pain and help you with your claim. But with social media, now suddenly you are complaining to the MILLIONS of Facebook fans of that company. The company you complain to, wants to keep up appearances, and do the right thing, publicly.

Now that you know how to complain effectively, I make one final plea: I am showing you how to get the results you need to use in the event that a company has legitimately wronged you. If their product fails during reasonable use, if a known problem is being ignored, or if you were made promises that were not kept. PLEASE do not misuse these tactics in any way, to gain profit or benefit for yourself. Not only will it make it harder for the rest of us with legitimate claims, it’s just bad juju.

I have used these same tips myself in my personal life. Just recently, my mother followed this advice to get unfair fees removed from her cell phone bill, and right now, she’s working with her car manufacturer to get them to foot the bill for a $1300 repair due to a known faulty part.

If all else fails, consider filing complaints with the BBB or contact a consumer watchdog group for assistance.

Have you had any luck with your company complaints?


Sunday 3rd of March 2013

My husband is the kind of complaints. He knows how to work with them in a nice way and usually gets taken care of just by simply saying that he needs to speak to a supervisor. I don't have the patience to go that far - i just hang up!

Happy Sharefest! xoxo, Khloe

An Exercise In Frugality

Sunday 3rd of March 2013

Kindness is always the best policy! But you're right, if your frustrated, the best idea is to hang up, and try again another time. Thanks for stopping by! :)

Chris Carter

Saturday 2nd of March 2013

Great advice!! I will definitely use these tips next time I am NOT satisfied!! Visiting from SITS!!

An Exercise In Frugality

Saturday 2nd of March 2013

Thanks for stopping by Chris! Glad you found it helpful! :) Enjoy the weekend!