To complain or not to complain?

Why is it that some cultures find complaining more acceptable than others? There is the old British stiff upper lip thing – no matter what, don’t complain. You have a rotten meal and then are asked how it was.  What do we say “oh, lovely thanks” or “fine thanks” so as not to offend…but it wasn’t was it!  So why do that?  Why not tell it as it is! The Americans do it, in fact they will go on about it at length. The French do it… and now, so do I!

I think there is definitely something about getting fussier as you get older. I definitely am fussier and more easily annoyed. I’m more impatient. I don’t suffer fools gladly and I know a lot of friends the same. And it’s the little things but pre-kids I wouldn’t even bat an eyelid at. Maybe it’ s the rushing about with too tight a schedule. Maybe it’s just utter frustration at how “it’s not like it used to be in the olden days”.

I’m in a shop and the shop assistant continues to have a social conversation rather than serve me.  Do I wait patiently? No. I will ask to be served. The other day I ordered coffees and asked if they took cards, being short on cash, and she said “no” but then the lady next to me and I saw it at the same time and we both said together, just like in a play “oh, yes you do, you take visa, maestro, amex,…” and burst out laughing. The poor girl looked completely shocked but it was quite amusing. Fancy serving all day and not even knowing it says on your register that you take every card going!  Poor sales technique or what?

We have the same view at Labels4Kids. We prefer people to say something but do it in a nice way. If there is one thing I have learned from my own experiences selling name labels, it’s that if someone phones with a complaint and has a nice chat but airs their views then we’ll bend over backwards to help them. Just like anywhere the retailer needs to know that there is a problem. They need to know so they can try to rectify it. We like to think we are ahead of the competition because we pride ourselves on our customer service and we get tonnes of lovely testimonials from people happy with our name labels and our service.  We get the odd unhappy one but on the whole they are converted once we have helped them out and they are also sometimes some of our best long term customers!

I think everyone should complain if they are not happy with something.  The trick is to do it with style! Do it nicely and don’t lose your cool. You’ll get so much more back in return. And then you feel that not only have you got what you want, even if it’s just getting your message across, but you have also helped someone sort out a potentially larger problem for them.

So forget that British reserve –  get out there and be heard!