At Resolver.co.uk, tens of thousands of complaints whizz through our system every month. We help people sort their issues out with every type of organisation. And, inevitably, a lot of what these complaints talk about is negative.
Yet I spend a lot of my time getting businesses to learn to love complaints. Because complaints, and how a business handles them, can be incredibly important to its success. They can turn a potential negative into an absolute positive. Both for businesses and you, their customers.
You see, an intelligently, sensibly resolved complaint is often far more effective at turning a disgruntled customer into a brand fan than some expensive marketing campaign. And it’s not just about compensation (although that often helps if you’ve been left seriously out of pocket!).
No. What really matters is the sense that you, as a customer, are being considered as a human being rather than just a number on a spreadsheet. I’ll give you two recent examples.
Tesco proves that complaints (and Shakespeare) can be fun…
When a Facebook user posted a picture of the scotch egg she’d bought that was missing its egg, customer service rep calling himself ‘Stephen the Bard’ weighed in.
In reply, he parodied Romeo and Juliet, writing: ‘O egg, egg, wherefore art thou egg? Deny thy breadcrumbs and refuse thy sausage meat; or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love and I’ll no longer be a scotch egg eater. Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this? ‘Tis but thy snack that is my enemy; thou art thyself, though not a scotch egg eater no more.”
It’s a bit silly, sure, but it is undoubtedly good-humoured. And here’s the kicker – the lady got a full refund for her eggless scotch egg. And I bet you anything she has a better opinion now of Tesco than she did before.
…And Vodafone shows that it has a good heart
Not quite a response to a complaint, this, but I think it’s heartwarming that Vodafone has offered to automatically credit its customers for all calls, texts and data used during the tragic events in Nice a couple of weeks ago. That’s the sort of thing that makes you believe a company genuinely cares about its customers.
Low-Cost Holidays troubles…
If you’re one of the unfortunate 140,000 or so holidaymakers left out of pocket by the collapse of Low-Cost Holiday firm, you’re going to be understandably annoyed by the news that you could only be due a paltry £7 in compensation.
This is because the travel firm was not part of the ATOL scheme, a UK Government-backed programme that refunds holidaymakers in full should a company go under.
There is some good news, though – provided you have travel insurance that covers ‘supplier failure’, you should get at least some of your money back. If you paid by credit card, you may also find you have some cover there, too.
The best thing to do in the short term is pay any bills your hotel or airline is asking of you, have your holiday, and get in touch with your insurance and/or credit card provider to seek out a refund.
Helpful hints when making a complaint about a holiday
• Get your complaint in writing – this is the easiest way of making sure it gets recorded properly
• If you do need to make a phone call, Resolver can record it for free and store it for you in your online case file.
• Record as many details as possible – who you speak to, their job titles, the dates and times of your calls with them. Resolver can do this for you, but it’s worth making the effort to record details yourself, too.
• Be polite. You might well be really frustrated and irritated about the service you’ve received, but it’s important to keep calm.