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Should You Complain?

I have been told recently by friend that I am good at complaining to companies when I'm unhappy with a product. Not long ago, I was in need of a new mop and opted to buy a $5 Mr Clean mop that I was sorely disappointed with. We rent, and my kitchen has these horrible old-school tile floors that seem to be magnets for dirt, and I have small kids that don't help the matter. This mop just seemed to push the dirt around, and required extra (unnecessary!) maneuvers in order to get the majority of the dirt up, and a ridiculous amount of waiting time for the semi-clean floor to dry. Granted, it was a cheap mop, but with a big name like Mr Clean, it should at minimum do the job, even if its not outstanding results. So I requested nothing more than a $5 coupon towards their Magic Eraser mop, and lo and behold, two weeks later I had a free full sized mop at my door.

But this was not my first time complaining about a product that did not meet my expectations. However, complaining isn't something I do just to get free products. Most of the time, we tend to give a little too much grace, and have a "beggers can't be choosers" or "you get what you pay for" attitude. My take on this is simply this: If you didn't get what you were expecting from the product, tell them so! Imagine if every person who was less than satisfied with a product never told the company so--they could lose a ton of $ over a flaw they never knew about. Companies want to put out a product people will buy and tell their friends about, and it's a big part of their advertising. It may not seem like this matters, but it really does. Many companies have won me over and I continue to purchase their products when they send me coupons, which is precisely what they want.

What makes the most difference, though, is how you complain. Here are some tips of how to complain effectively.

1. Explain why you bought the product. If you've purchased other products from their company and like them, be sure to lead with that information.

Example: "I usually buy your fresh chicken and have been happy with quality, so I decided to purchase your frozen precooked chicken tenders."

2. Let them know what disappointed you.

Example: "The size of the chicken tenders was much smaller than what the package implied, and for me, did not justify the cost."

3. Tell them what you would like them to do to compensate for your dissatisfaction.

Example: "I would be willing to give your company a chance to restore my faith in your products by sending me a few high value coupons."

4. Let them know you will be sharing your experience with family and friends. This is key, as there is no way for them to know how many people you will share your experience with.

What if you had a good experience, though, and you want to let that company know how much you love their products? Sometimes, you can send them a letter of praise, tossing in the fact that if more coupons were available, you would purchase their product more often. A lot of companies will happily send a few coupons along, but of course, they are rarely very high in value since they already know they don't have to win you over.

Just remember if you do decide to complain, try to do it without ranting or raving. It really doesn't benefit anyone to trash talk directly to a company!