Why Hiring A Pro To Write A Complaint Letter Is A Smart Move For Consumers
If the customer is always right, then why don't many businesses behave that way? An organization will often choose profits over proper service, according to consumer advocate George Bounacos.
In his soon to be published book, Service Secrets: How To Be A Formidable Consumer , Bounacos says that customer service is often viewed as a complaint department, not as a profit center. "We often show businesses how a simple resolution that costs a little bit of money can save a relationship with a consumer who has a much higher lifetime value," he writes. "The key is to break the issue down to numbers. A CEO will sometimes tell us that a consumer is worth one thousand dollars or or more to the company in profits while a customer. Yet that same CEO won't empower a contact center employee to issue a fifty dollar refund."
Companies chasing immediate profits at the expense of long term customer satisfaction is why Bounacos says he co-founded an advocacy company. "We started Consumer Help Web to write complaint letters for customers who needed a hand in showing that meeting their needs and resolving the complaint was the smart financial move."
Bounacos says that regulatory agencies and the Better Business Bureau get the press, but a direct approach may work better. "Consumer affairs departments do a great job," he acknowledges, "but they are often overwhelmed with complaints and slashed budgets. The BBB, on the other hand, has some fine resolution programs, but for basic complaints, will often just take your letter, staple a copy to a form letter and send it to the company."
So how does a consumer know when to hire someone to help them? "It's all about your time and expense," Bounacos says. "If we charge $30 to write a letter for you and get a response within a week or two, isn't that a more effective use of your time? Try customer service at the company first and document your contact with them. If you don't get an appropriate resolution or answer, then it's probably time to let someone escalate your complaint to an executive level."
Service professionals who require licensing such as physicians, attorneys and even hairdressers often have a state-level regulatory agency who can help for free. Check the blue pages, or government listings, in your phone directory. For other complaints, consider hiring a professional to help you.