Unhappy shopper? Complain effectively to get what you want

shopping-bgWhen you receive poor service, or are unhappy with a product, are you the type that walks away disgruntled, or are you the type to do something about it? We know that the customer is always right, but does the customer always get what they want?

Admittedly, I am notorious among my friends for being able to effectively voice my complaint (when I have one) – and getting some sort of compensation in return.

Here are some of my secrets to consumer success:

Keep it Together

You know the old saying ‘You attract more flies with honey than you do with vinegar’. It’s true. Always, always keep in mind that when you are dealing with a customer service agent or retailer the human element. They’re no different than you, except they are on the other side of the counter, or phone line or email. Empathy can garner sympathy.

Don’t attack or be adversarial, even if you are justifiably furious. Your zest on offence here will only make the person you are talking to go on defence- blocking you from what you want.

Determine What you Want

What are you after? A refund? A  replacement? Some sort of freebie for your trouble and aggravation? Decide ahead of time what it is that you are after. Also decide what you would accept (i.e. is there room for negotiation?) and when you would decide to walk away.

Be specific. It’s not good saying that you are unhappy. Why? What happened? What specifically will make it better?

Anticipate Objections

What is the likely response to some of your points? How will you handle them? It’s effective to anticipate and role play (even it is with yourself) to steer the conversation in your favour.

Find out Who’s Who

Make sure (and this is a big one) that you are talking to the right person. If possible, move straight to management straight away. Don’t waste your time telling your story to people who don’t have the authority to help you out anyways.

Be Liberal with Praise

It’s human nature. We complain far more often about things than we do heap praise. I complain when something is wrong, but I also make it a practice to go out of my way to let people (other customers) and management know if I’ve received awesome service, or if a product exceeds my expectations.

Call it shopping karma.