Sunday, June 17, 2012
If you don't ask, you don't get
I’ve always been a letter writer. And, before I became a lawyer, I wished on many occasions I could have my letter written on law firm letterhead. I felt like that might just be the difference in getting the response I wanted – recognition of my complaint and a resolution of the problem.
Letters do command attention. They memorialize your concerns about what went wrong. They should be directed to the highest ranking person who can make a difference in your situation. They should be firm, to the point and ask for a realistic, concrete solution. They can also be creative, constructive ways to make yourself heard, even if you don’t get exactly what you want.
One day my father and I were shopping for a pair of cowboy boots. I found the pair I loved and wanted to purchase. Unfortunately, the store didn’t have my size. I asked the clerk if she could call another nearby store to see if they were available. Her response was that it was store policy not to call their other stores to locate merchandise. I thought that was a very interesting policy. She agreed, and in fact suggested I write a letter. Since this was already my preferred method of letting people know I was unhappy with a service, I was more than happy to oblige. I obtained the name and address of the company vice president. I wrote him a strong, persuasive letter telling him about my problem and asking the company to change their policy. My letter began, “Congratulations, you’ve reached the pinnacle of success, you no longer need your customers to succeed.” In response, I received a hand written apology along with a gift certificate for $125 to “bribe me” back into the store. I gladly accepted my gift certificate and used it to purchase additional merchandise. By the way, I called the stores myself and found my boots in the appropriate size. I still have them today and they are still a favorite. Unfortunately for the store, they are no longer in business.
If you have a complaint and would like assistance in making a strong request for resolution of your problem, we can help – The Professional Nudge – it’s the only thing we do.