How to Get Your Complaint Heard
It can be very difficult to get your complaint about a large organisation heard and even harder to get a resolution to your problem, but there are some steps to take that make it easier. Customer services staff working in massive call centres may not always take your complaint seriously and deal with it appropriately, but following this procedure should help.
Ask If Calls Are Recorded
Asking whether all calls are recorded shows that you are serious and indicates that you might wish to use a call as evidence. The call handler will have to deal with the matter properly, as they will know they may be judged on the quality of the advice they provide and how satisfied you are.
Reduce the Cost of Your Call
Calling 0845 and 0870 numbers can be expensive, so ask the adviser to call you back or for a Freephone number if they want to put you on hold. Failing this, Which gives advice on finding a cheaper phone number for a company.
Explain the Problem
Explain the impact the problem has had – for example, if you were left with no money until payday or you were late for an important appointment, tell them about it. Remember to be polite and do not talk over the adviser. If you need to speak to a more senior person, explain that it is not personal.
Ask About Guaranteed Standards of Service
All large companies have standards of service, and if they fail to meet these, there is often some kind of compensation. Ask what standards of service apply so that they realise you are serious.
Ask About the Complaints Procedure
If your problem is not resolved, ask how complaints are handled. You will probably be passed on to someone more senior to deal with the situation. The more senior the call handler, the more compensation they will be authorised to give, but always remember the value of the grievance and stick out for what you are owed.
Insist that the company records each contact and keep a record yourself, noting the date and time, who you spoke to and the number. Ask for a reference number for your complaint.
Use the Ombudsman
If your problem is not resolved and you wish to complain about the company, you can find the procedure to follow on the Citizens’ Advice website.
Use Social Media
Complaining via Twitter or Facebook can often evoke a quick response from a company because it is so public. If you want to name and shame a company, a strong and specific message will often be retweeted many times, especially if it is a common problem. If no response is forthcoming after complaining on Twitter, tweet again about the lack of response. Complaints on a public platform are much harder to ignore than private ones.
There are also various websites, such as soap box shout, where you can post your complaints if you feel nothing is being done to resolve them. According to the Guardian, there has been an eight-fold increase in social media complaints over the past year.
Careful record-keeping and persistence are the keys to getting your complaint heard and resolved within an acceptable time scale.