How to Complain

July 22, 2008 at 7:39 pm 2 comments

Frustrated by a product or service? Want to get results? A few tips:

  • Be courteous. You may be angry, and you may have very good reason to be angry. But venting your spleen by name-calling or other varieties of rudeness will not help you. It may give temporary relief to your feelings, but it does nothing to resolve the problem, and will probably make the person you are contacting less willing to help you.
  • Be specific. “This site sucks” is not useful feedback. “It was better the old way” is not useful feedback. If you can address a specific issue, you may find that it is resolvable and *gasp* you may actually get results. I’ve responded to a lot of customer service calls and emails, and I can tell you that the customers who provide specific information about their complaints are a lot happier at the end of the transaction than those who don’t. And guess what? The more time I have to spend trying to get specific information from you, the less time I am working on solving your problem.
  • Don’t get caught up in conspiracy theories. Whatever the issue you’re having, the company/site designer/store/etc. did not create the problem specifically to torment you. Really. I promise. Believe it or not, I have a vested interest in making our customers’ experience as successful and as trouble-free as possible. I take the majority of customer complaints very seriously. But if you accuse me of intentionally making your life more difficult for my own nefarious purposes, you will be written off as a crack-pot and will get exactly nowhere.

I’ve had my share of frustrating tech support experiences. I know that there are incompetent, unhelpful people out there. But the bulk of us are really trying to do a good job and solve problems as quickly as possible. Do us a favor, and don’t make it any harder than it already is.

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Entry filed under: business, cross-posted. Tags: , .

Clay Shirky is kicking my ass Housekeeping

2 Comments

  • 1. Stacy  |  July 23, 2008 at 5:21 am

    One of the “many hats” I wear includes dealing with escalated technical support issues. I am stunned by the number of people who say, “The web page doesn’t work” and then get upset when I ask for more information so I can troubleshoot. Not everyone mind you…but more than not.

    Believe me, if I had a generic “make it work” button…I would use it and save everyone a lot of time. 🙂

  • 2. jimfox  |  July 23, 2008 at 9:18 am

    I feel compelled to speak out in favor of “venting your spleen by name-calling or other varieties of rudeness.” And, I have to disagree with the conclusion that it “will not help you”.

    A few months after I quit smoking, I started to experience nearly uncontrollable levels of anger at inappropriate times. My counselor made several suggestions to get the anger “out” – including yelling into a pillow or buying a punching bag. Well, to make a long story longer, I found the real solution to be the purchase of a new yet non-working item from an unnamed computer chain store which was closing it’s doors. I calmly telephoned the store to ensure I would be able to exchange said item for an identical item even though my receipt was marked in red with the words, “All Sales Final!” The phone call proceeded from polite pleasantries to “may I please speak with your manager?” within seconds. A few moments later, 20,000 demons from 35 years of abuse and 20 years of addiction exploded out of me (it was at this moment that I discovered where my diaphragm is) like the wrath of God in the finale from Raiders of the Lost Ark. And what sound did those 20,000 demons make for the next 13 seconds? “FFFFFFFFFFFFFF@@@@@@@@@@@@@@CCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!”

    The next day I returned the item to Radio Shack and fired my therapist.


"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." - Pearce

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