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Pouring Oil on Troubled Waters

When making a complaint you may be angry, or even embarrassed, but if you follow these tips and keep cool you’ll get better results:

• When you need to complain about something – poor service, poor quality goods, or whatever – you should do it promptly. Writer your letter/email or make your phone call as soon as possible after the mistake has been made. And don’t waffle – get straight to the point. 

• Be firm. You are much more likely to get a good result if you are regarded as someone who expects the situation to be put right. 

• Even it you are angry, always make your letter polite. Make your point clearly but don’t be aggressive. If you are rude the person dealing with your complaint will be less likely to try to see your point of view. 

• Be sure to explain exactly what the problem is: what is damaged, what part of your order has failed to arrive, how long something has been delayed. 

• Either tell the person you are writing to what you would like them to do to solve your problem or ask them what they intend to do. 

When dealing with a complaint: 

• Always deal with complaints promptly and courteously. If you don’t, the customer will start to feel angry and frustrated. 

• Remember – the customer is always right (until you have firm evidence to the contrary!) If you remember this when you receive a complaint you will deal with it much more considerately and sympathetically. 

• Honesty is always the best policy. When you (or your firm) have made a mistake, you should admit it. Making up excuses could do more harm than good to your credibility. 

• Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask yourself how you would like the complaint to be dealt with. Then make sure that the customer knows the complaint is being taken seriously. 

• Never try to off-load blame onto someone simply to exonerate yourself. But if it’s not your fault, say so! 

• And finally – if you don’t feel the complaint is justified, stand your ground. Explain your position clearly and firmly but don’t be intimidated.


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