If you needed to file a complaint, how would you do it?
You go into the grocery store with the intention of grabbing a few items that are on sale, and then head home to prepare dinner for the guests that your spouse, at the last-minute, tells you are in-town just for the weekend with no place to stay. Okay, so you have every right to be on edge. But what adds to your frustration is the fact that one of the items you need isn’t stocked. You see someone in another aisle and ask them about the item only to find she’s only a vendor and doesn’t actually work for the store. Next, you see someone who you know works for the store about the item – only to be told that’s not their department but they’ll find someone to help you. The person they find says that they just got a shipment in but the boxes haven’t been checked in yet. At this point, you feel the steam rising and trying to force itself out through your eardrums. Because you don’t want to head out to another store that’s roughly two and a half miles away, you tell the stockperson that you’ll wait. Then, you get that look from him that makes you think you just told him you know what he did last night with the Produce Manager. Away he goes, only to never return. When you tell the Customer Service desk what just happened, the young woman says, “Oh, it was probably his break-time. How can I help you?” Seriously? He left you standing there knowing all along he wasn’t going to help you? And now you have to explain yourself to someone new? Again, you keep thinking to yourself, “I do not want to drive two and a half miles to get to another store.” Somebody needs to pay for this terrible service. Somebody needs to hear your plea of injustice! You’ve already met the Customer Service agent who has taken up for the one who stood you up. Surely the Store Manager is on lunch break at 10 am because the Customer Service agent sees Hell all over your face. At a chance, you leave your name and number with the Customer Service person for the Store Manager to call you. There is no need to stand there explaining yourself to the person at the counter. Your request may get lost in the shuffle of things anyway. Even though you finally get your item, after waiting forty minutes for a different stockperson to check the boxes for you…If you do not get a phone call from the Manager, you wonder how you can voice your complaint and be heard.
- You could write a letter to the Corporate Office. An emailed letter is probably the most effective way to voice your concern. You would need to make sure you have all the necessary documentation (names of anyone you met, times). Be sure to include a contact telephone number and give your email address again – just in case no one looks at the heading of your emailed letter. Also, “Bcc” or Blindcopy yourself the same letter. Most of the time, if you placed a call to the Corporate Office, you are forced to leave a message for the person in-charge of that department to get back to you. This could take a couple to a few days.
- Try blogging your issue. Of course with blogging, you can put your creative writing skills to use in their fullest potential. It’s not that you are lying, you are just better able to elaborate and expand the events with fuller imagery. It doesn’t hurt also that you have developed a following and that following can help broaden your concern like word of mouth. Just know that everybody knows somebody that knows something about something or someone you dealt with.
- You can even call back to the store and ask for the Store Manager. Make sure it’s on the same day to ensure action. Explain yourself without being too dramatic, even though the pressure will be on you to express your anger. Document your conversation. You want something for your trouble (an apology, you may be offered a gift card to be used only at their facility – something for your inconvenience). If you feel satisfied with your interaction with the Store Manager – or it may even be the Area Manager who has better skills to deal with customer complaints – you can advise the Corporate Office about your contact.
- Video-Blog yourself. I don’t know if I would whole-heartedly agree with doing this only because a video leaves you totally open for ridicule. You never know who’s watching you. Once you’re on the internet, you’re there to stay.
Now some people may feel that you should follow the chain of command. Again, if you have made ever attempt to speak with the Manager of the store, only to no avail, what other recourse do you have other than to contact the Corporate Office. Depending on the establishment, some even believe that if they don’t dignify the complaint with a response, it’ll go away. Yes, people do really believe that. And, those are the ones who wonder later why they have to go out of business. It takes a lot to file a complaint. It takes just as much out of a person to commend someone for quality service they received. I don’t always believe that “The Customer is Always Right.” What I do believe is even a commendation of quality service can turn into a complaint if it isn’t dealt with appropriately and in a timely manner.