Over the last few years, I have become adept at lodging a complaint and getting a response. Don’t get me wrong, if I may say so myself I am one of the most relaxed person ever when it comes to customer service. I don’t yell if the waiters get my order wrong, I don’t raise my voice when the operators put me on hold for 20 minutes. But I do get annoyed when my grievances are not attended to, especially when I am seeking for assistance or when I am not provided with the services or goods that I have paid for.
This is what you should do if you want to lodge a complaint.
STEP 1: TAKE NOTES
When the situation that leads to your complaint occurs, you need to be aware of these things so that you can relay the complaint accurately and as factually as possible. Jot down or note these details:
- Date, time and venue it occurs.
- The name of the person(s) that attended to you.
- The losses that you suffer – it could be in monetary terms, in could be intangible like embarassment or harassment, it could also be in terms of the time that you spent to rectify the problem.
- How the person who attended you reacted. Was he rude? Stand-offish? Raised his voice? Sometimes they are calm and pleasant, but give effing stupid answers like I don’t know.
STEP 2: ALWAYS CALL THEM FIRST, OR SPEAK/SEE A PERSON.
- When the person answers the phone, first, ask for the operator’s full name. This is to ensure if the operator is not attending to your calls properly, you can get him/her implicated.
- Ask whether you will be issued a case number. I have been working in the industry. All complaints get a case number. The real issue is whether or not the officer will even FILE the complaint at the first place. Sometimes, because of quota or the overzealousness to achieve certain targets, they will conveniently drop your complaint form in the wastepaper basket. So, make sure you get a case number. If the officer says you have to hold in order for her to issue one, then hold.
- Always be aware of the duration of time. If they put you on hold, note how long they put you on hold.
STEP 3: WHAT TO SAY WHEN LODGING A COMPLAINT
- Where possible, always have your complaint in writing. What I do is this: after I lodge a complaint verbally and receive a case number, I will recap the conversation + case number and email it to the customer feedback email address.
- Be as factual as possible, and start with asking the person to help you resolve your issues. Don’t be confrontational from the start. After all, we need to give them an opportunity to correct the problem.
- If the person you speak to is unable to resolve your issues, or become rude and unco-operative, request for his manager.
- If he refuses to let you speak to the manager or says that the manager doesn’t want to talk to you, then requests for the manager’s name (in full) and inform them that you will be sending in your complaint in writing and will be making sure the manager’s name will be implicated in the form. Typically, at this point, the person will offer to try to put you through to the manager again.
- Don’t be fooled, they will just put you on hold, hoping that you would drop the line. Don’t. Even if they put you on hold for 30 minutes, just stay on the line. Always refuse if they offer to call you back, because they will NEVER call you back. Here’s the secret, all customer service operators have a standard response time (SRT). Any calls that go beyond SRT will be flagged immediately because it means the officer fails to resolve the issues within an acceptable time. So, the longer they put you on hold, the more screwed up they will be with their bosses coz it will throw their average off the track.
- If all above doesn’t generate the response that you seek, inform them that:
- You will be writing in to the GM. It is not difficult to find the GM or Head of Customer Service’s name, address & phone no, trust me. Just call the corporate office.
- You will name the customer service officer and his manager in the complaint.
- You will cc the complaint to the appropriate bodies, such as the National Complaints Centre.
- At this point, normally the person would say, oh that is your right and it is up to you sir. So, thank them and tell them oh yes you intend to fully exercise your right.
STEP 4: WHEN WRITING A COMPLAINT
- There are 2 ways to do this:
- You can write straight away to the National Complaints Centre. The e-form for complaints can be found here: NCC Complaints Form; or
- You can write to the GM/Head of Customer Service of the company, and then cc the complaint via fax or email to NCC (e:firstname.lastname@example.org; t:+60378779000/+60378748096; f:+60378748097)
- I always find the second way works better and faster.
- If the company is a public listed company, you should ALSO cc the complaint to Bursa Malaysia and Securities Commission. The links will take you straight to the complaints section of Bursa and SC.
- If the company is a member of a professional association such as Direct Selling Association or Malaysian Hotel Association etc, the you should ALSO cc the association(s).
- If you were threatened with bodily harm etc, you can also lodge a police report, and then attach the police report to the complaints letter.
After that you wait. I can guarantee that you will get a response.
One last thing, yes I know it seems like an awful lot of work and it is. But if you don’t do it, to me, you lose your rights to bitch about it. Pursuing your rights is your choice. Once you know how to complaint, it gets easier and easier to get the resolution that you desire and avoid all the unpleasant confrontation.