|photo by Thad Zajdowicz|
Have you ever wanted to complain to a business but didn't because you didn't want to be mean or didn't think your problem would be resolved? Recently I have had many opportunities to complain about poor business or products, and in doing so, have learned some helpful lessons about the power of complaining.
A meal I didn't like. A broken zipper on a brand new item I couldn't return or exchange. Poor quality cloth diapers. A late package. All these instances of disappointment I could have shrugged off, but I chose not to. By simply letting the businesses know something was wrong, I immediately received replacements, refunds, and extra products or store credit.
Lesson 1: Be honest. Let businesses know when you are disappointed. They will do anything not to lose a customer.
You may be worried about sounding rude or being difficult, but businesses want to know when they do something wrong so they can learn from their mistakes. Most of the time, companies are very pleasant, generous, and willing to go the extra mile to make you happy.
Over Thanksgiving, Justin played at an out-of-state golf course that charged him twice. I didn't realize until weeks later when I was reviewing our credit card statement. It took two months of repeated phone calls and emails before they finally refunded the money.
Lesson 2: Be persistent. Eventually a business will give in so you will leave them alone!
Sometimes businesses have poor customer service, deny any mistakes, or knock down your requests. Don't give up. Continue to ask for what you want until you get it. When they realize you are not going to quit easily, they will most likely give in.
I recently learned how to search for my own blog images to see if others have used them. I unexpectedly found an embarrassing photo of some friends used in two articles making fun of baby shower games. While the article didn't upset me (I came to agree that the game was a bad idea), I didn't approve of them using my photo as an example. I contacted the blog authors praising their blogs and politely asking them to remove the photo to save my friends embarrassment. Both did so immediately. And I did too!
Lesson 3: Be polite. People are more likely to acquiesce to your requests when you are kind to them.
None of my situations would have resulted in positive outcomes had I been rude. You can be honest and assertive while still being pleasant to work with.
I hope these lessons are helpful to you next time you have a need to complain. Good luck!