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Savvy Consumer Tip: Top Complaints of the Past Year

Watch Chris explain the top complaints of 2014 according to the Consumer Federation of America.

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Know How to Complain Effectively

The biggest mistake people make when complaining is that they don’t ask for what they want. Joe Ridout, Consumer Services Manager for Consumer Action, says you should be specific if you want your complaint resolved to your satisfaction as quickly as possible. Do you want a refund, a replacement, a discount, or an apology?

When talking to a customer service representative, a supervisor, or one of the super-supervisors (also called executive customer relations or retention specialists), Mr. Ridout advises that you stay away from making legal arguments. “If you appeal on the basis of fairness, that’s usually going to be more persuasive. Also some customer service reps are trained transfer complaints to the legal department once a consumer alleges the company is involved in illegal conduct, so it’s better to appeal on the basis of fairness.” If your own complaining doesn’t get results, get outside support from a consumer action hotline or consumer protection agency.

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Time to Speak Up

We’ve all had bad customer service experiences, but how often do you take that next step and voice your concerns to someone with authority?

I’m so ready to do that. I’m speaking up about the appalling, inferior, sub-standard service I had this week at a blood lab. Have you ever waited 1.5 hours for a simple blood test? I noticed six or seven people ahead of me when I arrived, and estimated that it might be a 30-minute wait. But then, one of the two lab techs went to lunch! That left ONE—count ‘em—ONE woman to process paperwork AND draw blood.

By the time my turn came (at some point there’s no pulling out, you’ve invested too much time already), I could see the employee’s nerves were shot. And here she is drawing my blood. You can see how over-working your employees might comprise safety. Some companies are cutting their budgets much too drastically.

When I left—the waiting room was packed with even more people—I dropped a carpet bomb saying, “I hope you all voice your complaints about the bad service you received today. The employees would appreciate it.” I’m not sure how many will do more than nod in agreement as they did that day and speak up. I came right home and tracked down media relations for the lab company (the company website was NOT helpful in the least) and asked them to put me in touch with the consumer complaint department.

I’m looking forward to seeing how responsive they are. Meanwhile, I will be tweeting about my bad experience @ twitter.com/asavvyconsumer, so stay tuned.

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