When Complaining Pays Off
“The towels were dirty, the walls were filthy, and that bed’s been slept in!”
Have you ever had an experience like this? I know I have! I’ve also had plenty “I loved your product so much! I can’t wait to use it again!” experiences. In both cases, I’ve gotten freebies from my emails or calls to tell the company about my experience with their product.
You may think that if you genuinely had a bad experience, the last thing that you’ll want to do is talk to someone from where you had the bad experience. Complaining to your friends and family might be therapeutic, but it doesn’t actually fix the problem for you. Going to the manager or the customer service department of a company with a legitimate complaint will actually get you somewhere.
In no way am I suggesting that you should make up some excuse to try to get free stuff! No, if there was no mint on your pillow at a hotel, that’s no reason to demand a refund. But if you had a genuine “this is the worst hotel ever” moment, you need to let someone know!
Let me tell you about how a filthy hotel room restored my faith in humanity.
One summer, my family stayed in a hotel to visit family. We only had the three of us at the time and we were still living off of my husband’s one income of $17,000 a year. We got a modest hotel room, but the closest one to my family was $125 a night for the lowest price! Yikes!
When we walked in the door, the room looked nice enough; just like a standard hotel room. It wasn’t until I took a shower at the end of a very long day of travelling and visiting family, that I realized that the towels in the bathroom were dirty. There was a big smudge on the underside of the one towel… and the other was still damp. Gross! I called the front desk and got new towels sent up right away.
By the end of that mess, I was just ready to fall asleep in the king-sized-super-comfy looking bed and go to bed. When I pulled back the sheets, I found out that they’d already been slept in; they were crinkled, smelled like cologne, and had more than a few black hairs on the pillows and sheets. The attendant once again came back with new sheets and an apology, but there wasn’t anything else that he could really offer us (more mini shampoos).
I didn’t sleep much that night. My husband’s hard-earned money was spent to go on this mini-vacation, only to have out hotel room used and not cleaned! I cried thinking about the waste of money that could have gone toward groceries or to a “real” vacation.
When I came home from this really creepy hotel stay, I contacted the parent company for the hotel about our experience. The parent company is the company that owns the hotel branch. For example, (we didn’t stay at a Hilton, but it’s a good example of a parent company!) Hilton owns DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, and eight other hotel companies. When you want to get something done right, go straight to the top to get it fixed.
Within the hour, I got a response offering us a full refund and a complimentary night at any other hotel branch location that I wanted. I was speechless. I cried thinking of how thankful I was to this person from customer service who had just restored my faith in humanity and gave me the ability to have a do-over vacation.
This encounter changed the way that I see companies. Companies don’t want people to hate them, they want people to love them, and their products, and keep coming back! Remember: even at the biggest companies, there’s someone behind the computer just like you working in customer service. It’s their job to make things right.
Did you hate a product? Tell the company!
Don’t just do it to get the free stuff! Although it’s a real perk, telling the company about a bad experience that you had can help them address the situation and make it better in the future.
Sometimes, a product doesn’t last as long as it should. My husband received 5 coupons for new shoe laces after his “heavy duty” ones broke a week after he got them. Zulily sent me a new pair of workout pants when after 5 workouts, the pants I ordered got a run in them like tights did.
When you had a negative experience with a company, they truly want to know so that they can resolve the problem before it ever happens again to someone else, and to keep you as a customer! That’s why it’s so important to let a company know when you’ve had a negative experience.
Complaining about a bad experience or a bad product to your friends and family doesn’t actually help you. But telling a company about your bad experience might actually wind up earning you some freebies!
Do you remember that woman a while ago who complained to Target about how short her daughters’ shorts were? She actually got a response from Target, and began working with them on the size and length of their shorts!
This principle applies everywhere!
Bad dinner? Call the manager! A shirt doesn’t fit the way that it said it would? Ask to return it! Bought the wrong date for tickets? Ask to switch the dates!
You lose nothing to ask and could gain a lot; from a restored faith in humanity to a free hotel stay!
Have you ever told a company what you thought about their product?