Most people dislike confrontation, but sometimes when a product or service goes wrong, you need to let the provider know. Successful complaining through customer reviews is an art. You want to get your problem resolved, not just to vent frustration. Here are some smart methods of getting customer satisfaction.
Whose problem is it?
If your complaint involves a consumer product installed by a service person, determine who is responsible for the problem before complaining. If the product was installed correctly but doesn’t work properly, your complaint is with the manufacturer. If the product is fine but the installation was faulty, it’s the installer’s problem to fix. If you aren’t sure where the problem lies, start with the installer.
If the installer is at fault but isn’t fixing the problem, contact the product manufacturer, since the installer is probably an authorized service provider. The manufacturer can apply pressure on the installer.
Where to begin with a complaint
Start with the customer service representative at the company in question. Provide documentation in the form of a purchase receipt as well as notes about your experience dealing with salespeople and the installer, if applicable. Provide careful details about when your problem began and the steps you have already taken to assess it.
Be firm but polite and professional. Don’t vent, don’t use inflammatory language and don’t engage in cursing or name-calling. Describe events in measured, even tones. Remaining calm in your dealings is more likely to result in cooperation than losing your temper.
Make your request for resolution reasonable and proportional to the problem. Don’t request an entire refund, for example, for a problem that is not a complete failure.
Going up a level
Give the customer service department a reasonable chance to resolve things. If they stonewall, or their attempt at resolution doesn’t satisfy you, ask to speak to someone in management. If you get no satisfaction at that level, complain to an executive or an owner of the company.
Going outside of the provider
If you still cannot find a resolution, especially if the company is being difficult, it’s time to apply outside pressure.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB), a nonprofit private agency for consumer advocacy, is a longtime resource for dispute resolution. After receiving a complaint, the BBB will contact the business and seek a satisfactory resolution. Even if total satisfaction isn’t achieved, the business must work with the BBB because the agency rates businesses from A to F on their cooperation.
You can also call in government regulators. Research your state to determine which regulatory agency protects consumers, and file a detailed complaint with the group. Again, be fair, detailed and professional. No business enjoys having a government agency after them, so this tactic likely has the most clout of all your options.
Going public with customer reviews
The Internet and customer reviews offer consumers a way to share their customer experience, whether good or bad, with the world. To alert other consumers to your situation, you can share your experience on Facebook and Twitter or post customer reviews on forums like Yelp.
Stick to the facts, not emotions. These are public forums, so avoid words like “crooks” or “criminals” that imply legal wrongdoing that has not been proven in court or by a government regulator. Using such terms in customer reviews can get you sued.
Related – Can You Trust Contractor Review Sites?