The Art of Complaining

While in some countries, such as the USA, complaining comes naturally, and if your dissatisfaction with a service is justified, people will try to compensate and make you a happy customer. But in many other countries, complaining is seen as not worth it. As nobody will care to improve anyways. Of course, the digital world brings in a new perspective, as leaving reviews, especially bad ones, will potentially turn future customers off, and that does affect the business. So, in this matter, things change everywhere.

It’s funny how, when faced with a problem, the first thing that comes naturally for us is to bitch about it with our partner or friends or people nearby. But we’re missing on that extra step of actually giving our feedback to the owner of the business or his employees. To the people that actually need it and can do something about it.

What happens is that most of the time, we only complain for the sake of it, and get nothing solved except maybe accumulating some frustrations within. But what if we would learn and master The Art of Complaining so that we feel confident about the legitimacy of it all? It would help us actually complain for a reason, help the business and maybe even get some benefits out of it. I’ve jotted down in the next lines the main rules of the Art of Complaining, rules that will help you navigate through expressing your dissatisfaction more, and with better results.

The 3 main rules of The Art of Complaining

(1) Complain, but have a purpose

If you’re going to the trouble of telling someone (a person or a business) how unhappy you are about a specific interaction, matter, product, or service, make sure you have a clear purpose. You probably expect a solution to your problem, you might need further clarifications to understand the big picture, or you just want to let them know how they can improve. Furthermore, you need to make sure you know what tangible, meaningful amendments you want to get out of the complaint. It might be just a simple apology, but it might be the case of a discount or a better offer. Of course, don’t state these to the person you’re complaining to, but have them in mind and follow the next rules.

(2) Be passive-aggressive

Put your emotions to rest. That is, don’t lose your temper but rather play a more powerful card. Be passive-aggressive. State your unhappiness, and what experiences that lead to this. Make sure you do that calmly while passing on all your complaints. Don’t lie, nor exaggerate.

When asked how to make things better for you, either say what you need if that’s clearly defined or just say that you don’t know. In this case, just reiterate your unhappiness and how that affects you, and potentially your family, or your trip, or anything else. Inevitably, in the end, the other person or business will offer something to make amends. And that something can be more than you expected.

It’s even more comfortable when you do this on the phone with a customer rep. They are usually pressed to take a certain number of calls per hour, so you not hanging up and complaining and restating your issue over and over again can give you some leverage.

(3) Ask one simple question

If the other person seems to be losing their patience, look for the right moment to ask them, “What would you do if you were in my situation?” You’d be surprised at how many times they’ll actually pass along a quite useful tip. Or a real solution to what’s bothering you, besides making amends.

Happy to hear more about your complaining tips and trick, and what helped you make the most of all the feedback you’ve passed on!

Originally posted here