So, you’ve had a bad customer experience. Some people I’ve asked say they don’t engage the company or organisations. Others say they do. I got mixed responses with most people expressing the need to speak up. You should speak up when you’ve had a bad experience from a service provider for two simple reasons. The first is that when you make them aware, you give them an opportunity to get better. The other reason: if you protest by taking your business elsewhere, people will lose jobs. So, how to complain about a bad customer experience in a helpful way?


Let’s start there. The most obvious and common reaction to bad customer care or support is usually anger. Unfortunately, not everyone has good control over this emotion all the time. Some people get so angry fail to communicate well.

Other customers only communicate their anger. Packaging your displeasure in a tantrum does little to help. The service provider will remember it more than the issue you need resolved. Strong or explicit language also doesn’t help.

Insulting people makes them enemies and not allies. They might resolve the issue but at the risk of sabotaging yourself more. There’s a Southern African saying in some cultures: don’t use the well like a toilet. The reason is obvious–you will need clean drinking water at soon.

I’m not saying don’t communicate your anger or other feelings. Be measured and have. Express your anger without trashing the shop. Tell the manager you are angry.

After all, one of the things about customer care is how we’re made to feel. Feelings are a big part of how we experience companies or people who serve us. Organisations must think about how they make their clients feel with every interaction. This includes when you do a good and bad job.

So, communicate how you feel but don’t let the emotions get in the way of getting your point across.

State Facts

These are important and you should make them your ally. To start with, one of the worst mistakes clients make is not reading the terms and conditions. I will admit this is a lie millions of people tell all over the world many times over. Because we want a particular service we say, ” We’ve read and understood the terms.”

The reason we rarely do, is because the terms are usually a tome in a font size meant for ants. And, in any case, if we didn’t agree to the terms we’re left out in the cold. Catch twenty-two: we get services or products on the providers’ terms.

To complain about a bad customer experience in a helpful lead with the facts. (Click to Tweet)

Bad service makes cynics out of many of us. If you start noticing a pattern, start keeping record with each interaction. After all, most service providers keep track of your correspondence. They also record your calls, and, even tell you upfront. Some offer to make recordings available to you on request.

Other Practical Bits / Tips

  • Request copies of your calls when offered.
  • Get a reference number where there is a ticketing system.
  • Keep record when you made contact and who you spoke to.
  • Take note of reference or ticket numbers and always include them in your queries.


You can ask to speak to a supervisor or manager if your issue is not getting resolved. If they fail, never shy away from reaching out to the relevant ombudsman, if it comes to that. That is what they are there for; to make sure you get fair treatment as a customer.

Helpful Questions To Answer Before Engaging Service Provider With A Complaint Or Issue.

  • What should have happened that didn’t?
  • What got in the way?
  • What actions did you take to try and clear the barriers?
  • What was the response from the service provider / representatives?
  • What would make everything right for you?

Offer suggestions from your experience. Again, give service providers a chance to get better. If not for you, for other people’s sake.

Any other suggestions?

image: Andre Hunter

Published by Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world

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