Learning complaint strategies

April 15, 2010

It’s amazing how much we can learn from other people’s observations of us.

A colleague and friend decided to model my complaint strategy. Now, like many of our strategies, this wasn’t something I was consciously aware of.  Apparently, according to her, I have a strategy worth modelling. Apparently I can make a complaint sound like a compliment. Interesting!! I had never thought about it like that.  

So I reflected on my approach and there are 3 consistencies;

1) express expectation/promise

2) state what was received (and how it mismatches the above)

3) request replacement based on expectation/promise


There are also a bunch behaviours, beliefs and values that form part of the overall strategy. So after asking those who know me well, we identifed the following;

A smile & humour

Talk to them like a friend (not like a member of staff)

Apparently, I also have a belief that I deserve what I’ve ordered (or purchased) and that people want to help. Another quite useful belief is that they need to know in order to improve service levels.

This exploration into complaining got me thinking.

Why do people so often settle for less than they deserve?

What stops people asking for what they really want?

Naturally there will be a variety of reasons. Most of these will be beliefs about themselves or the world.

Take my complaining strategy. My friend established that  (in a restaurant context) I have a belief that  ‘I deserve to get what I want’.

So you might want to explore this for yourself.

Think about your life.  Are there things you want that you are not going for?  If so, what stops you?

What have you been believing about yourself, that stops you going for it?


reach me at chantal@starconsultancy.com