Sunday, 21 August 2011

Complain... and it will be given to you?

In the past month my parents approached me twice to ask for my help in drafting and submitting complaints about faulty consumer services they had received. In one instance, they flight was delayed but they had not received any compensation from the airline operator, in the other - they were told by a service company that their cooking plate was broken and beyond repair, and only after they purchased a new one and had the old one removed it turned out that the old cooking plate was perfectly usable and that only a cable needed to be replaced to make it work again. It was, of course, a coincidence that these two events took place shortly one after the other, but I started thinking that more and more I hear stories from family and friends about them complaining about this or that to the producers, sellers, service providers etc.

Last week I read an article in the Irish Times 'Putting the customer first' which confirms that times are changing and that consumers nowadays file more complaints against companies. While we used to ignore and swallow bad service as something that we just have to suffer through, nowadays we know that we have a right to ask and demand more. Interestingly, this article mentions that the raise in the amount of complaints does not necessarily lead to the companies listening more to the complaints or learning from their mistakes. Still, a certain behavioural shift is taking place and we'd be eagerly following its development. Since, from feeling empowered enough to make a complaint, there is just a step to changing a service provider in case he does not listen to our complaint, spreading the word of mouth among our friends/family and even strangers via various online social media available and therefore contributing to lowering the trust in this particular service provider and hopefully making him listen more and improve his services.

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