How to complain to Customer Service

How to complain to Customer Service

One of the things that I have noticed in a customer service situation (on either side of the table) is that there several stages to the conversation. These stages have very fine lines, and unfortunately some people cross the lines to the Raging Stage immediately (there really is no rage stage, but it seems that this is the default position that customers take).

The Stages to the Complaint

The stages as I see them are:

  • Fact Giving,
  • Proof Provided,
  • Resolution Suggested,
  • Listening Politely

Normally these 4 steps will resolve the situation, but in those cases where this does not work there are a few options to escalate.

  • Remain Calm,
  • Request a Manager,
  • Ask for the Corporate Number,
  • Express your disappointment without getting angry (very hard to do), being angry will not help the situation.

The Pretend Situation

Cicli Jackson was dining at Kampton’s Hot Pot a new coffee shop in the Western Burrows.  She ordered a Sumatra Powered Cappuccino and paid her $4.95. She waited patiently as she saw other people ordering, and after about 8 minutes realized they had forgotten her order.

This is when she flew into a rage, knocked the counter displays full of pastries off the counter and slammed her fists screamed, “This coffee shop is the worst place in the world, and how do you forget a cup of coffee?”

Or she could have approached the counter and grabbed the closest barista and jabbed her fingers into their chest and demanded her cup of coffee.

Unfortunately both of these approaches would have done nothing but make the establishment dislike her, and possible press charges against her, and she would not have had a very good day.

This same Guide can apply to many different life situations

Basic Rules for Customer Interaction

Instead she should have stepped to the counter and said excuse me. Attracting the attention of the Barista and then told them that they had forgotten her order (Fact Giving).

Then also hand them the receipt or point out the one that took her order (Proof Provided).

Ask if they could make your cup of coffee because you are in a hurry (depending on the length of time, I sometimes ask that they give me something for my trouble – This ends up being a coupon for a free coffee or similar) (Resolution Suggested).

The last step sometimes is unneeded, unless there is further explanation that need to occur. This will happen when the barista asks for more detailed info on what happened, or asks again for the product type and so forth. If this happens Cicli needs to listen patiently and respond in a similar manner (Listen Politely).

Normally this would be the end of the customer’s interaction, but sometimes the problem could not be resolved here. If that is the case then it would escalate to the next steps.

Advanced Rules for Customer Interaction

The barista laughed as Cicli was telling her about the problem, and she instead of giving her what she order she grabbed a random cup of coffee and gave it to her saying, “Since you are in a hurry take this.”

Now Cicli is getting upset, but she has more options to her. Take a deep breathe and scream and remain calm (Remain Calm).

Cicli now asks to speak to the one in charge (Request a Manager). Then follow the Basic Rules again.

If this does not solve the problem, then you need to get the corporate number. Unless of course they are a local store, then you need the owner’s number (Ask for the Corporate Number).

Once you call them explain calmly the problem, and express how disappointed you were in the service provided.


I hope that you never have to make it to these last points, but sometimes when dealing with life situations, things do not always go well.

This step by step guide should help with most of your customer care needs, making it so you have a great day.

Have a Great Day,


Clinton Morris – Having worked in the customer service field for 14 years I have  seen all kinds of reactions. I am hoping that guides like these will lower the problems and emotional destruction.

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