Complaining etiquette

Our best advice? Stay courteous but firm – don't be afraid to stand up for yourself

If you feel as if someone or some business has done you wrong, then you should tell them so. There is an art to considerate complaining that not only keeps courtesy in mind but is also likely to get you the results you want. Remember that businesses can't improve their services without feedback.

Be conscious of your language, tone of voice and, if face to face, your body language. Your message is not only conveyed by the words you use, but also by your delivery. You first reaction may be to raise your voice and take out your frustration on the person you are speaking to or emailing, but instead take a deep breath and calmly express your reasons for your complaint.

When engaging with your key service providers, it's important to remember that the person you’re talking to is unlikely to be responsible for your issue. Being aggressive in your tone and engagement will only make the other party defensive and raise the potential for conflict. The best way to be able to get your result is to remain in control, calm and focussed.

A great tip is to be conscious of the language you use. For example, do not use “you” and “your” in your sentences – it’s verbally pointing your finger and it puts people on the defensive.  Do not use emotional language such as “I am sick of your service” – focus on what the problem is and how it could be improved to meet your expectations.

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