A couple months ago, I went to a Braves game (I am a huge fan and go a couple times a year if I can). Unfortunately, I got the run a round with a couple staff members in regards to a promotion that I purchased. At the time, I was very upset, but I learned a couple valuable lessons from the whole experience.
This is not a business blog, so I am not going to rant about how businesses should handle things. But as an author and a consumer, I think it is important talk about how to handle being on the bad end of a bad situation. Businesses always school their employees (the good ones) about losing customers that don’t complain. If no one complains, then they don’t know how to fix it. I admit that I have been this type of customer. I would rather not go back to a business that gave me bad service or a bad product than have to talk to a manager.
But being a long time Braves fan, I did not want to simply stop going to Turner Field because of one bad experience. So I used my descriptive writing skills to lay out exactly what happened and emailed that to their customer service.
You catch more flies with honey – the old saying goes. I like to think of myself as a good southern gentleman, but like any man in the south, I can shout a great deal when crossed. When complaining to a company, you don’t have to be as sweet as honey, but you should be factual and leave out as much emotion as possible. Try to put yourself in their shoes, as a company that needs to make money and has policies laid out. If it is a policy that is the problem, tell them why it needs to be changed.
Don’t ask for restitution. You may deserve it, but don’t ask for it. Ask any customer service person what they hear the most and the phrase “You Need To Give Me” will likely come to mind. Most people (and business are made up of people) want to help as long as they are not being pushed into a corner. They would rather be the one saying “let me do this for you” rather than “my manager won’t let me do that”
In my case with the Braves, I would have asked for too little. I expected them to comp me tickets when they called me to discuss my email. I did not expect them to give me a free meal, program, parking, tickets directly behind home plate right a couple rows behind Scotty McCreery (the American Idol winner and country music singer), and with a post game concert by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
I thank my beautiful wife for calming me down and allowing me to see past my emotions (something she has done for the whole of our eleven year marriage).
Understand that not all companies are going to respond (or care), but I now see that they really need to know. If you tell them they screwed up and they don’t care, then by all means never go to them again (unless it is the DMV or tax office, they can screw you over all they want without consequence).
Some companies care a lot. About two years ago, I bought a Compost Tumbler (Love It!). A couple weeks ago it broke, but my wife called the number on the side and they shipped out the parts that day! No warranty claims, no paperwork or hassle, just “you’ll have it a couple days.” That is great service!
As for the Braves, we went back on Saturday with our free tickets and had one of the best times we have had at Turner Field (even though they lost).