Don’t put up with bad customer service
You should never ever have to put up with a company who gives you bad customer service.
I’ve spent the last week in America and one thing they do prize on that side of the Atlantic is treating consumers with a smile, even though sometimes it feels like it lacks sincerity. That doesn’t mean they always get it right, or that no customer ever has anything to complain about, but the service economy in the US offers a very different experience to the UK.
For a start, because so much of it in restaurants and bars is based on tipping, good friendly service comes as standard. It’s not an optional extra. Of course, there’s an ulterior motive but that means a positive experience is rewarded fairly and if a negative experience occurs, then it can be dealt with appropriately.
This also pushes further and wider among the service chain to bring standards up. When you’re out in a shop or dealing with a company on the phone, the expectation for receiving awesome service is always there in the consumer’s mind and therefore it is at the forefront of the mind of the person providing you with the experience.
In the UK, it’s very different. We accept poor service. We overlook being treated badly. We dismiss a woeful experience on the phone, face to face or online as just being inevitable. And that’s sad because it doesn’t have to be that way. For example, if you have a problem at work you talk to your boss about it. If you have an issue at home, you address it. So why fear taking action about a purchase you’ve made, a meal you’ve had or a holiday you went on?
I hear this from users of resolver.co.uk all the time. They often tell me they are reluctant to do anything, believing it will be a waste of their energy and what spare moments they have fearing it will only lead to a rejection.
When you do take effective action though, it can fix problems, get you back money you are owed and most crucially, raise the bar so others don’t suffer in the same way in the future. A tool like www.resolver.co.uk is completely free and independent and you can raise a case within minutes to one of 30,000 brands, organisations and companies in our system.
Dozens of industries, sectors, products, services and providers are represented and if the place you want to raise an issue with isn’t included, you can get in touch for us to consider adding them.
People regularly ask me what’s my secret to being successful at gaining a resolution from a case. And I tell them that it all starts with one single word… C.O.M.P.L.A.I.N. So, what does that mean? Well…
C is for Collect. Pull together all the information you need – and that means all communications, pictures, documents and receipts/bills. Having everything in one place allows you to see this issue clearly.
O is for Order. You need to present your case in a logical way. There’s no point rambling and not getting to the point. Outline the issue you have and decide what you want the solution to be.
M is for Manage. You’ll have different expectations to the company you’re complaining to. You might want a refund, someone to say sorry, a replacement product or to change the way they do things. But it’s important you stay realistic and manage your own expectations to get the best result.
P is for Polite. It costs nothing and you should always remain polite. Even if you are angry and want to hit out, shouting down the phone or being abusive in an email isn’t going to help.
L is for Legislation. The law is there to protect you. Look it up. Understand it. On the Resolver website, we offer details of the relevant consumer legislation around various issues as you make your complaint.
A is for Answer. Don’t always expect to get the answers you want. But always go as far as you can towards what you feel is right. Don’t give up but trust family and friends if they tell you there really is no case to be made or that a resolution offered is worth accepting.
I is for Independent. You will find there is an Ombudsman or regulator for all different sectors. They will offer you an independent investigation of your case for free, but you will need to wait eight weeks from the first time you raise your issue. The one way around this is to ask for a ‘deadlock letter’ which shows the company you are dealing with accepts there is an impasse.
N is for New. There is always the option to change your supplier or provider. So, don’t overlook that. You must be prepared to move on. It’s your money you are paying after all. You don’t owe any company any loyalty if they are not loyal to you. But even if you don’t want to make that move, don’t tell them. Just threaten to take your custom elsewhere. No business wants to lose customers.
James Walker is the founder of online complaint-resolution service Resolver.co.uk Follow James via @resolvercouk, or email James@resolver.co.uk