I got £100 for bad service today

I got £100 for receiving bad service from a bank today.

I wasn’t expecting that but after trying to switch accounts for over six weeks, and the bank being unable to make a change this afternoon, after I had been told that it was possible over the phone, I decided to complain.

I was taken into a side room, the complaints procedure explained and my complaint documented. At no time did I ask for or expect £100.

At the beginning of the meeting, they asked me what I would like to do next with the bank, i.e. what I wanted to achieve as a result of the complaint. I said that in all honesty I didn’t want to bank with them any more, but the interest rate is so good that I would be silly not to stay. I really wanted my complaint to help improve their processes.

I was really pleasantly surprised when they gave me £100 as a sorry, and my perception of the bank went back to what I felt over six weeks ago. What I learned about complaining today is something I wanted to share:

1. Stay calm – shouting and screaming don’t really achieve anything. There’s no need to swear, just breathe deeply and be nice.

2. Have all the facts – take in names, dates and records of conversations. Trying to remember all this information is difficult and having facts on hand strengthen your argument.

3. Listen carefully – employees often contradict each other, so giving you different information. Make sure you are able to replay information one employee has given you, if it is not the same as information that another employee is giving.

4. Ask open questions – when something seems silly, ask for a thorough explanation and staff sometimes struggle to explain things, as indeed what they are saying doesn’t make sense.

5. Get a clear agreement on next steps – to avoid a situation dragging on, get them to tell you exactly how they are going to resolve the situation and by when.

6. Get it written down – ensure that they document your complaint and give you a date when they will respond.

7. Talk to someone senior – don’t be fobbed off by a junior, insist on speaking to someone who can record a complaint.

2 Comments on this post

  • Sara @ Debt Camel

    June 29, 2014 at 9:29 am
    Great advice - especially "breathe deeply and be nice" :) I would add - when you are past the asking open questions point, get your complaint in writing and make sure you actually use the word COMPLAINT in the email title or as a heading for your letter. - keep a list of phone calls, noting what was said by whom - if it's getting bogged down, think about complaining on twitter!
    • Mrs Bargain Hunter

      June 30, 2014 at 11:25 am
      Thanks Sara for the extra tips. I tried on Twitter too and they stopped responding at all after a while. In person is best if you can!

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