I could be wrong. Well, occasionally, anyway. It is a good thing to remember.
This blog is about complaining effectively. It is an art form. They tell you to have details, document things, be firm but polite, be insistent. When brushed off, push to speak to a higher authority, etc. Some people do very well by complaining. It can be lucrative if you know how to put the screws to rich companies. I have witnessed (sometimes to my consternation) effective complaining done by acquaintances in the United States, where complaining seems to be a particularly high art form. Of course it helps if there are a few underclass Mexicans to kick around, and if you threaten a few law suits that works pretty good too. We don’t tend to have those in Canada. If you put the screws to a big company, they will send you free stuff to shut you up, especially in the age of social media where bad PR can be generated in a day by one disgruntled passenger being bodily carried off an airplane. Optics are on your side, and video is key, especially if it only captures your side of the story. He who protests most loudly, wins. You can even call names. Someone got on the wrong side of you, and they got schooled.
Of course, there IS always the possibility that you could be wrong, a consideration that is generally not engendered while complaining. That is something to keep in mind. Yes, I could be wrong. That is when grace would tell you to proceed with caution and put the threats and name calling on the side until you establish some pertinent details, like who is actually to blame. Keep calm and get your facts in line.
And so it goes with my deluxe Weber Barbecue. I was proud to get it going once I put it together. That manual. Mmmmm yeah, I might have lost that. What kind of a turkey needs a manual to run a barbecue anyway? Any dummy can turn on a knob.
Mine did not work so well. It seems like every time I turned it on, the gas was muted and the tank seemed to fizzle out early. I went through a lot of barbecue tanks, and two summers. I checked with the home stores if my propane tanks might be defective. They told me to check the line. Maybe spiders had gotten inside in the winter.
After the gas fizzed out one day in the middle of a barbecue session, I got seriously p’d off. I decided I was going to complain. I called up the Weber number and got a representative on line. She asked for all the details and then took some notes. I was feeling encouraged. I was envisioning pressing my case, and a courier truck pulling up and delivering a brand new barbecue to my door as proof of my shining right-ness.
Then the lady said to me those key words. “Sir, did you read the manual? There are instructions for how you turn your barbecue on.” Turns out that there are mechanisms put into place that discourage the possibility for a rush of gas and an ensuing explosion. There is a safety valve that springs into action if you turn on the flow of gas too quickly. It covers the hole, and stops the rush before it can turn into anything worse. That explains why my barbecue was never working. I was just turning it on too abruptly and forcefully. I had to walk back that complaint and politely thank the lady, then hang up. My barbecue has been working wonderfully after that simple bit of instruction that I missed. I was glad that I had not gone into that phone call breathing fire and complaints. I would have looked even more like an idiot.
It makes me wonder what the metrics are when they consider who gets hired in the complaints department. Forgotten concepts, perhaps - being graceful, and the ability for personal comportment. To not get heated in debate. Complaints department staff must finish a call and say, well, that guy was a fool, and then go home to mix a stiff drink.
The grateful call. Companies don’t usually get it. I have gone head to head with car manufacturers a few times, and won. Still sometimes you have to call when you are grateful and something worked wonderfully well. Believe me, people take notice of that. It quickly ascends the ladder to head office and someone will call you back and wonder if they can publish your praise and put your name to it.
I had to call Volkswagen when my daughter totalled my car. She T-Boned another vehicle at an intersection and totalled that fellow’s car too. They both hugged and walked away with mere scratches, afterwards. Both cars were Volkswagens, and the crash engineering had apparently worked. My daughter was OK, and so was the driver of the other vehicle. I had to call to praise their high standards and to say thanks.
Settling who is right and wrong is also Christian doctrine. Paul shamed those who could not figure out that there were ways around everything escalating to civil court action, where you both were standing in front of a judge blaming the other guy.
Things like I was wrong are not often considered. We are in an age of shouting, instead of learning grace. Thanks for telling me complaints lady. I must occasionally be reminded that I can be an idiot, too. I think the official handle, is hubris - when you get ahead of yourself and life teaches you a few lessons on how to be humble.
I am sorry, I was wrong might be a good place to start.