Politics of a compliment

When you complain, you get more results.  But when you give a compliment, the results are less than satisfying. Don’t believe me?  Hear me out.One day I bought a carton of soy milk.  The directions explicitly say, after the carton is opened, the milk must be used within seven days.  For those who are not regular drinkers of soy milk, let me explain, most soy milk beverages have a short time span. So if you use the product after the recommended usage, you do so at your own risk.  Anyways, the carton I bought spoiled well before the seven day period.  Obviously I was annoyed and I called the company to complain.  They took all of my information and in no time I received a voucher for a free product and four coupons.  I was happy and that was it.

But one day I decided to do a 360 and offered a heart-felt compliment to a company.  Who would’ve imagined a compliment would be taken so lightly.  I called and I prefaced my opening by saying, I know when people call, they normally complain; well instead of a complaint, I have a compliment.  The customer service representative was so dumb founded; I know she thought I was a bit looney.  Despite the awkwardness of our conversation, I proceeded with my lunacy.  I told her how much I loved the product and it’s a great dietary snack.  Then there was silence.  It appeared like she was so confused; like she had no idea how to close the call.  Maybe they didn’t cover this part in training.  It appeared all she knew how to handle was complaint calls.

After the whole call, I felt empty.  I thought I was doing a world of good, but instead I was left to feel inadequate.  I’m sure if I complained, I would’ve ended with a bunch of coupons encouraging me to buy their products.  But when it comes to a loyal customer, I was left hanging.  Something is very wrong with this picture.

If I wanted to cause some trouble, I could’ve called back and blasted them.  I’m sure by the end of the whole debacle; I would’ve ended up with a free product voucher and other coupons.  Sounds like a good deal to me.  Well am I wrong?  What’s your take on this?

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~ by Natasha C. on January 27, 2008.

4 Responses to “Politics of a compliment”

  1. I’m a little confused by what you expected. Did you just hope for a sincere “Thanks for your comments, I’ll share them with my manager and co-workers”? Or did you hope to get some kind of loyalty package?
    I recall getting a few people giving compliments regarding service when I worked at Future Shop (extra stress on the ‘few’). I just gave them an honest thank you, and said how happy I am that they’re pleased with their experience. Not much else I could do, really.

  2. Let me explain. The person acted like I was talking in a foreign language. Like she didn’t know what to do. She barely uttered a thank you. It appeared like this part of training was neglected. On the other hand, if I complained, the sales representative would’ve knew how to handle the situation. I don’t need a care package. I am already a loyal consumer to their products. My problem is, she didn’t know how to respond to my compliment.

  3. I find that complaining gets more results than a compliment/kind words. As a person who has worked in retail and a call centre environment, we are always told about the customers who complain and what procedures to follow once this happens. There never seems to be much attention or thought given on what to do when there is a compliment.( who to pass it on to and where it should go) This is pretty sad considering business thrives on customer loyalty. Customers should also consider the person at the other end as well. This representative has been yelled at and burdened so much they are just burnt out and don’t use their commen sense when a compliment has come their way…they are just tired. I agree that the sales representative should have acknowledged your words at the very least, maybe that would have made their day a tiny bit better.

  4. I believe part of it might be human nature. As people, we do not take compliments well. For example, lets say someone tells you “Nice shirt!”, you instantly turn and tell them how it is 12 years old, or if someone says “nice pants”, you instantly tell them how they were 75% off or whatever.

    Compliments from ones we love and care about, especially our significant others, are even harder to take. How many times do we get compliments from our significant others, only to respond with, “You are just saying that…”, and we feel that, too.

    I think the reason is, when we receive a complaint, we can take action. We can “do something” to turn that person around, to resolve their complaints. Human nature has always been to solve problems, and this is how we have gone from the abacus, to computers requiring several rooms, to the laptop I am typing this post on. It is how we have gone from “the ankle express”, to training horses, to petroleum fueled cars, and now to hybrid cars with regenerative breaking. When we receive a compliment, what can we do? nod and say thinks, in this case, forward the compliment on to co-workers, head office, etc. Compliments make us feel that everything is ok, that we can settle, but as a human race, we have never settled. We have always strived to make something bigger, better, faster, more powerful. It is what makes us different from the animals, its what makes us intelligent. A compliment helps, it tells the company what it is doing right. However, they have no action to take away from it. On the other hand, if they receive a complaint, it gives them the opportunity to fix something in their company, to make changes for the better.

    Maybe that will make more sense as to why it was easier to deal with a complaint, as opposed to a compliment.

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