If you are dissatisfied with a product or service, impulse prompts you to fight back when you contact customer service. In anger, you might accuse and threaten the company representative. If you have tried that approach, you know that you are likely to alienate the frontline individual who could help you.

Next time you want to complain, try the constructive approach instead. "Construction" brings to mind the establishment of buildings, bridges, and highways. On a more human note, construction enables the building of relationships. When you can do that with a customer service official, you will be on your way to a rewarding resolution of the issue.

So try these steps--which, of course, you must believe and feel genuinely before you say them.

FIRST: Ask the name of the person you're talking with in person or by phone. If you don't catch the name the first time, ask again. Once you have the name, repeat it during your conversation. Quickly and easily, you have illustrated that you want to establish a person-to-person affiliation, not just give voice to an austere grievance.

SECOND: Commend the company. "Your company has earned a widespread reputation for great customer service. You may not be as well known as Starbucks or Zappos, but you're in the elite category of corporations who know how to take care of their customers."

THIRD: Express confidence in the service rep: “You can help me with my problem, I’m sure. I’ll bet you’ve handled identical situations like this satisfactorily.”

FOURTH: Express flexibility by saying, “Now I will describe the situation as I see it.” By not coming across as dogmatic and unyielding, you increase the likelihood of having your case heard attentively and fairly.

FIFTH: Request suggestions for bringing satisfaction that is fair and reasonable: “What possible solutions would you offer?” Maintaining a smile and relaxed demeanor, you can add: “repair, replacement, or refund?”

SIXTH: After the representative describes possible remedies, express relief that “you have assumed ownership of the problem.” Ownership implies staying in control until mutually satisfactory action occurs.

SEVENTH: Agree on the anticipated next steps, and the target date for resolution: “So, you will take your recommendation to your supervisor, and I will hear from you by Friday of next week—right?”

EIGHTH: End your interaction gratefully. “You’ve been just as helpful on this as I knew you would be. Thanks so much. Oh, and I’ll be sure to commend you if the company sends me a survey about my visit with you.”

Almost magically, you'll find, changing your customer complaint from a highly critical attack to a problem-solving partnership will reduce tension, increase objectivity, and foster both interpersonal and financial harmony.

Author's Bio: 

Bill Lampton, Ph.D., President of Championship Communication, helps companies identify their communication problems and find solutions. He helps leaders learn to speak with "poise, power and persuasion." Also, he helps you produce top quality videos that strengthen your marketing. His client list includes Gillette, Procter & Gamble, Duracell,British Columbia Legal Management Association, and the Ritz-Carlton Cancun. http://www.championshipcommunication.com