The ultimate guide to complaining

Us Brits are great at queueing, talking about the weather and drinking (amongst other things) but we’re rarely comfortable making a fuss if something goes wrong. This is due a combination of us feeling awkward, not wanting to be rude and not knowing how.

So, for those of you asking how to complain properly when something has actually gone wrong – here are our top tips:

1 – Be polite – This is SO important. Firstly, if you’ve ever worked in a customer facing role (we both have), you’ll know how horrible it can be on the receiving end of a tirade about something that wasn’t your fault – especially when you’re just trying to help. You do not have to be rude to complain and it’s almost certain to not get you what you want. Be polite all the way through.

2 – Be specific – When raising an issue, make sure you know exactly what you’re flagging. Be clear about the expectation you had, and why this wasn’t met.

3 – Know what you want – Have an idea of how the business can make it up to you. Side note – be realistic about this (a cold soup as a starter does not mean you deserve a meal for free – see our [LINK: How to know when you’ve crossed the line]). Your expectation should be consummate with the problem – poor service could lead to a free round of drinks, rubbish food could lead to a free course, a product that broke should lead to a refund

4 – Be determined – This goes hand in hand with rule number one. The real secret to successfully complaining is to perfectly balance politeness with determination. Keep reiterating the point and show with your body language that you are not going anywhere until the issue is resolved.

5 – Speak to the right person – Don’t shout at the person in the buffet car if the train is running late. The general rule here is to either find a customer service person or, preferably, a manager. You need to complain to someone who cares and who has the power to give you what you want

6 – NEVER NEVER NEVER say any of the following: I know my rights / do you know who I am / my best friend works for x. Just, you know, don’t.

This ultimate guide to complaining should give you a great headstart when you next experience awful service or a shoddy product. If you’ve got ideas on what else works then let us know. Equally, feel free to share your stories. We’d love to hear from you.

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