It’s easy to moan at companies for their poor customer service, but we do need to offer credit where it’s due. Because the best companies are those who recognise complaints and deal with them responsibly and efficiently. That’s why, with feedback from almost 30,000 cases during the first half of 2016, unique data from my free online complaint-resolution service, Resolver.co.uk, is revealing which companies sort out your problems quickest. Our figures show which companies sort out their issues fastest, and which are best at turning complainers into happy customers. Unlike an ordinary customer satisfaction survey, which tends to focus on a specific company or industry, the Resolver data spans more than 28,000 companies and public services. This ranges from airlines to zoos, covering all key operators in the travel, retail, utility, telecoms and hospitality industries.
|KLM Royal Dutch||6.38|
The data is drawn from feedback voluntarily provided by Resolver users at the point of case resolution. The scores are out of 10, with 10 being the best and zero the worst. If a business can turn a complainer into a loyal customer or even a brand advocate, you know it’s doing something right. You know it cares. We want to recognise that sort of achievement with our unique customer satisfaction score data.
Complaining about a company or to a company can be a test of your strength and tenacity, so remember the words of Buzz Lightyear: never give up, never surrender!
Keep a written record
Record all information you send or receive and all phone calls you make, including details of who you spoke to and when – the Resolver process will help you with this. If you cannot resolve your issue, you are going to need documented evidence to take the next step. When first making a complaint, it’s often tempting to hope the issue will be resolved quickly and simply, so we often can’t be bothered to keep records when making a complaint about a company.
When your complaint isn’t resolved quickly, it’s often too late to start recording your interactions with the company. It is a hassle to keep records and we often can’t be bothered. But contacting the Ombudsman without this information will not achieve anything.
Keep calm and carry on!
Popular words, but wise ones, too. We can become frustrated and angry when dealing with companies, either because they don’t understand or listen to your issue, or by the way they handle your complaint. It can be like banging your head against a brick wall. So, always stay calm, as your anger can be used against you, and in the worst case it may mean not dealing with your complaint. Be sure to keep your language polite and stay focused on what you want to achieve.
Know what you want
Why are you making a complaint? Perhaps you’re not and are just trying to improve the service a company or organisations offers. Either way, it’s important to know what you want and what outcome you will be satisfied with. Be fair and be reasonable: if you’re just missing a screw, don’t ask for a new wardrobe. Be sure to ask for what you want. If you want compensation, but only actually say you’re looking for the problem to be put right as the company will do what only deliver what you have requested (i.e. they will rectify the situation, but will not also provide compensation).
Know what you should expect
Know what to expect and what are your rights are. Companies will often want to pay you out no more than absolutely necessary and will give you a low starting number for compensation. This is a common practice within the insurance industry. So you need to know your rights, what to expect or what you should be entitled to when you make a complaint. Have your evidence ready and present it when stating what you want. This should help you get a quick solution to your problem!
Be clear and concise
The worst thing you can do is to give excessive detail. You may be outlining all your points and issues, helping prove the validity of your claim and what you want solved. But while information is invaluable and helps you explain why you are annoyed, don’t go too far. A 10-page document means whoever is reviewing it will probably lose your point and potentially all interest. If they miss the point, your communication has been ineffective. Keep it focussed and concise, but retain all the points you want to get across.
Companies can sometimes have a hard time, as we can also be unreasonable with our expectations. It is important to be reasonable with what you want and focus on resolving the problem – not prolonging the complaints process. Businesses are focused on resolving, so have the same approach and if possible find some common ground.
Know when to escalate your complaint
Be fair to the company – complaining should not be a war of attrition, but about resolving and getting what is right. Rather than writing directly to the managing director straight away, try to resolve the complaint with the company through their conventional complaints procedures. If you cannot resolve the issue and need to escalate it, this demonstrates you have been reasonable and fair. If you have been too gung-ho in your approach, this can be held against you.
Remember they need you!
Remember they need you more than you need them! It’s more expensive to find new customers than it is to keep existing ones. If you have been with a company for a long time, then they have made good money from you. If they are sensible, they know that it’s worth keeping you as a customer. This means they should work on how to ensure you are happy at the end of the complaints process.
Don’t give up
If you’re not getting what you want, sometimes the pressures of life can mean we forget about the issue and let it go, simply because we don’t have time to deal with it. Further down the road, you will be annoyed with yourself for not having pursued the issue. Don’t give up: set yourself reminders, know when to escalate and what to do next.
Have a sense of humour
Have some fun. Remember the person who you are emailing/speaking/writing to is a consumer as well and probably has to deal with lots of issues a day. This must get frustrating and tiring for them, so why not change approach and inject some humour and fun into your complaint? There is the great example of a complaint letter to Virgin Atlantic that was written as a poem. The complaint expressed the issue in a fun and innovative way and as a result actually received coverage in the press. Life should not be about being sad and stressed all the time, so why not give it a try?