In my blog post Negative Thinking: The Price of a Can of Tuna I wrote about the negative impact that complaining has on my life. So it may seem counter-intuitive when I write another blog post advocating complaining as a method of reducing negativity. In another recent blog post entitled Take Responsibility For Your Life – Lessons Learned in Venice I offered some advice connected with my trip to the fabulous floating city. Let me use some more stories from that sublime sojourn to explain why my view on complaining is a double-edged sword.
Man alone is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed – Samuel Johnson
I wrote about my stay in the Hotel Principe and how I was not happy with both the accommodation and the customer service. After staying for seven nights I then booked an apartment in the Dorsoduro District. I booked the apartment through a website and printed out the directions the night before my trip. To cut a very long story short the directions were a mess and it was a very frustrating experience that could have spoiled my day. Then when I got to the apartment the heating was set on a timer and would not come on during the evening and night-time during the coldest winter Italy had witnessed in 50-years.
Then with four days of my trip remaining I received a phone call from the fraud department of my bank telling me to contact them urgently. As a frequent European traveler this is a common occurrence and one that turns me into David Banner. So why do I feel like turning green and ripping off my shirt? I commend my bank for having a fraud department because it makes me feel protected, but I also need it to be a customer friendly service. The fact that I have these problems every time I travel abroad is an indictment that the service is not working, but there are also other issues that seem to get my gamma levels stirring to dangerously high levels.
For one my telephone costs to solve the issue are very expensive. I am in a foreign country and the person I am connected to always has difficulty understanding me. You would think that a requisite for dealing with customers would be to have a clear and concise voice? Why then can I never understand the person on the other end of the phone and vice versa? This increases the length of call and the tension between the two parties. Next they ask me a series of questions about my account that I cannot remember without looking at it. Once again, as a regular European traveler I book a lot of flights and hotel rooms. In addition, I use my credit card for online purchases, almost daily, ranging from iphone apps to books for my kindle. When you are asked to remember why I spent £3.43, 23 days ago with only the reference MHF Ltd to go by then forgive me for failing to have an answer. If you don’t agree that the amounts are not fraudulent then they will cancel your card. Having no access to money when you are on holiday in Venice is unwise.
All of these incidents put me in a foul mood and created a lot of negative energy. Not only that but these types of incidents happen to people all around the world, and this is how negative energy is created in the first place. I realised that the quote, if you keep on doing what you are doing, you will keep on getting what you are getting, is very relevant here. I travel to Thailand next and I will probably receive another call from the fraud department. After all the bank doesn’t realise that there is even a problem with customer service – hence my point. How many times do you receive a customer survey that ends up in the trash both in cyber space and for the recycling tip at home?
Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business – Zig Ziglar
If I don’t complain about the Hotel Principe then how will the owners understand that there is a need to change? If I do not complain to the travel company about the inaccurate directions to the apartment, how many more people will get lost? If I don’t ring up my bank and tell them that they need to redefine the customer service experience – when the fraud department rings – how will the process change? Am I honestly foolish enough to believe that the people owning these issues, at the highest levels, want to dish out this level of service?
What difference does it make? – Morrisey
Like I said at the beginning of this rant. Complaining is a double-edged sword. On one side you can use it to create negativity but on the other side you have the power to constructively change the world.
So what are you waiting for? Get complaining today!
Do you have a story to tell? Has constructive complaining resulting in a change of negative energy for you?
The inspiration for the post comes from my decision to write a series based around negativity. If you own a blog and would like to learn to generate regular content then thinking of a series is a great idea. The idea for this actual post was generated after an argument I had with my bank in the middle of the oldest casino in the world. I found myself in the most ridiculous vicious circle of negativity and I was the person driving all of the energy. After the conversation had ended I was extremely angry and negative for the remainder of the day. As my girlfriend and I did our check-in later that evening I realised that I needed to stop behaving in this way, and instead do something about it. It was then that I decided to constructively complain in order to try and create the positivity I wanted, instead of the negativity I was getting.
Photos courtesy of me