It happens to all of us at some point. The (extremely expensive) blender stops working a day out of warranty. A phone line you just can’t disable even though you got fibre, like, a year ago. A 90-minute wait for your basket of hot wings, that arrived cold anyway.
The small injustices of navigating life as a consumer are plentiful. So what do you do about it? You take back the power, that’s what! You write a review and tell the world how you’ve been wronged.
So take a deep breath, fix yourself a nice cup of tea (or a glass of wine, nobody’s judging here), and follow these top tips to help you get your voice heard.
1. Give it some time
Give yourself some time to cool off before becoming a keyboard warrior. Chances are, this really wasn’t THE WORST ****ING SERVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED, nor did it COMPLETELY TRAUMATISE YOUR FAMILY AND RUIN YOUR SUMMER HOLIDAY.
The best reviews require a certain level of chill. Nothing good ever comes from being angry on the Internet, as the comments section of local news sites have proven time and time again. Once you’ve cooled off and you’re feeling more rational, start writing.
2. Say it where it counts
There are plenty of places to voice your complaint: social media, Google reviews, in lipstick on the bathroom mirror (just kidding, definitely don’t do this).
But, if you’re after a meaningful interaction rather than just a lekker moan, you should pick a specialised Platform that both consumers and businesses take seriously. And where engagement is a two-way street.
3. Get your facts straight
It’s hard for a company to recognise and rectify the error of their ways without being equipped with the facts. Try to collate as much relevant information as you can: dates and rough times, branches, receipts, warranties, reference numbers, who you spoke to, and email trails all help to build and contextualise your case.
Make sure that you’re reviewing the right place. Check your spelling and location carefully. Some poor spaza shop in the middle of nowhere doesn’t need a negative review because you made a typo.
4. Keep it civil
There are very, very few situations that warrant swearing and name-calling, and complaining to a brand online isn’t one of them.
Park the potty mouth and be polite. Chances are, you’ll be dealt with in a quick, respectful manner if you treat the business and its employees with the kindness they deserve.
5. Get to the point
Ain’t nobody got time for a thesis. If you’re unhappy with the burger you ordered, your complaint doesn’t need to include why you feel the décor needs a refresh or that you didn’t like your waitron’s mullet. Stick to the point – your burger sucked.
6. Provide constructive criticism
In our world, we like to call this The Criticism Sandwich, because everyone loves sandwiches. The core of your complaint is like the juicy filling of your sandwich. It’s the cheese and ham. We all know that cheese and ham are best served between two slices of bread, because bread makes cheese and ham both easier to control and digest.
You should encase your complaint in some pleasantries. Start your complaint by highlighting the things you did like about the product or service, explain why you’re disappointed, then conclude with a suggestion as to how this can be rectified.
7. Tell them what you want
Brand reputation managers aren’t psychics. Decide what you feel is an acceptable resolution. Do you want an apology? A refund? Maybe it’s a replacement product.
Outline your expectations so that everyone is on the same page. Sometimes it helps to set a deadline to show that you mean business, but be reasonable.
Nothing makes a complaint look more extremely un-serious than poor spelling and grammar. Not only does it dilute your message, it costs your credibility.
Well, there you have it. You can now write a review like the best of them. Next stop? Food critic.
Reviews on Hellopeter have helped over one million consumers make better choices. Had an experience you’d like to tell us about? Leave us a review here.