How to Complain in a Composed Manner
We human beings are emotional creatures. There are parts of our brains that are extremely logical: those bits put men on the moon; they build sky scrapers and undertake complex life-saving heart surgery. There are other parts of our brains that are driven by pure emotion: those bits generate wars, love affairs and some pretty odd works of art.
- When you have been driven to distraction by an issue that makes you want to pull your hair out and scream, my advice is that you should resist the temptation if you possibly can. Take command of your emotions and gather your ammunition. A bit of passion will not go amiss but compose yourself, compose your letter of complaint and then complain. By proceeding in a logical fashion you will ensure that your complaint is well-founded as well as being properly expressed. If you are seeing red there is a great danger that you will proceed in the same fashion as the proverbial bull in a china shop without necessarily being right. Research your facts, collate your evidence and ensure that the object of your anger is the one to whom your complaint is addressed.
- A few years ago I completely lost it with a major department store. I had bought a barbeque that simply would not fit together properly. Some parts were wobbling whilst others rattled and I could see that my idyllic sunday afternoon feast was going to be spoiled. I let rip on the telephone with a follow-up letter to the Chief Executive. The company in question (John Lewis) reacted brilliantly and sent round a nice man with a bag of tools, a smile and a mission to resolve my complaint. He did his job with good grace pointing out (very politely indeed) that the equipment was not defective but that my lack of patience and dexterity were the real causes of the problem. The simple truth was that I was so enraged that I was unable to see the obvious – it was my fault, not that of the company from whom I had bought the artifact that had so quickly become the object of my outrage. When you are about to complain it is always a good idea to get your facts straight. If you don’t you are liable to embarrass yourself and waste everybody’s time.