Customer service: how to complain and still get what you want!

When a company or service let’s me down I have no problem contacting them and letting them know. Hell…if I’m using their product then clearly I’m a fan and if I were them then I’d want some feedback. But the problem most people have when giving  feedback or reporting an error is that they act all pissy and rude…which is totally counterproductive.

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$80 Uber ride 🙁

When my buddy visited San Francisco he tried Uber for the first time and was hit with a 3x surge charge, which made his 2 mile ride $80. This was before Uber had a ton of surge price notifications, so for first time user you can understand why he’d be upset.

Here’s the email he wanted to send Uber:

Subject: Pissed customer

I will never use Uber again. It was pathetic and a completely misleading. Thanks for ripping me off. Enjoy my $80. Assholes.

Let’s think about this. If you were on the receiving end of this email what would you say to yourself?  “Welp, looks like this guy will never use us again. Let’s just apologize and try to never talk to him again.” This email wouldn’t accomplish a THING. My buddy wouldn’t get his $80 back and Uber would lose a customer.

Here’s the email I rewrote for him (using the principles from How To Win Friends and Influence People)

Subject: Helpful feedback from an unhappy user

Hey guys. I heard a ton of amazing things about Uber so I decided to give it a try the other night. However, I’m really a bummed because I was charged $80 for a 2 mile ride. I did see that there was 2x surge, but I was expecting the price to be closer $20 or $30. I want to continue using Uber but I’m really not happy at all about my first experience and am considering using Lyft instead. Doesn’t $80 seem a little ridiculous from SOMA to Mission?

See the difference?

My buddy ended up getting $50 back and a $20 credit for his next ride.

Make them compete for your love!

And if you’re feeling real frisky, use Twitter. This way you can include the company’s competitor in the tweet. Remember: most companies care WAYYYYY more about beating their competitors then they care about making you happy. Use this.

I was a long time user (every day for 2 years) of Slack Radio but HATED their new design but still considered trying their premium product…so I decided to let them know:

slacker radio vs. spotify

Good work Spotify! In fact, they ended up giving me 3 months of Spotify Premium. I’ve loved Spotify so much that once those 3 months are over I will most certainly become a full time customer.

Tips for dealing with customer service:

  • Don’t insult or yell at them.
  • Explain how you want to continue to be a customer if they can address the issue.
  • Let them know that you will use their competitor’s service.
  • Tweet when possible and include the competitor’s Twitter handle



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