How to Complain by the Scatter Gun Effect
There are occasions it is worth complaining by what I call the scatter-gun method. If you are happy to write one letter of complaint, why not fire off three or four simultaneously? The results can be very interesting indeed.
- So, for example, instead of writing one letter of complaint to the Managing Director of the company concerned, I will typically write exactly the same letter to the Chairman and one other main board director as well. I will not reveal this fact to any one of them. The benefit of this approach is twofold. First, you increase your chances of finding an director who might take ownership of your complaint by 300%. Secondly, even if the three work out what has happened and pass the buck to Customer Services the complaint will definitely be taken more seriously than would otherwise have been the case. On one occasion I complained to three main board directors of a large electrical retailer about a defective piece of electrical equipment. The first told me that he could not assist. The second offered a 10% discount on my next purchase. The third offered a full refund. I took the third option!
- On another occasion my wife (the inspiration for so many of my complaints) tripped up at a petrol station on a patch of oil on the forecourt. She smashed her front tooth and rang me on her mobile phone, whistling as she did so through the broken enamel. Within half an hour I had sent by fax a letter to each member of the board on the petrol company which I reckon must be one of the fastest letters of complaint ever written. Within two weeks we had settled the matter and my wife was given fair compensation. What would have happened if we had gone through “the usual channels” involving the company’s lawyers, insurers and so on? The answer is that the whole affair would have taken much longer to resolve and the out come would probably not have been as satisfactory.
- Do not use the scatter-gun on every complaint, there are times when a rifle rather than an AK-47 sub-machine gun will suffice but it is a weapon worth deploying if you really mean business.