Step 5 - communicate clearly
There are a few tricks you can use to ensure that you are properly listened to and that the 'other side' won't just ignore you and hope you will go away.
- If you are speaking to someone, make a note of everything you want to cover during the conversation and tick them off as you go through. This will prevent you from forgetting anything and also help you keep calm and stick to the point.
- If you are writing a letter, double check you’ve covered everything you want to. Try to stay calm and stick to the point. It is sometimes useful to have a friend check that you’ve made all your points clearly. What's in our minds often isn't quite what we've put down on paper.
- If you know that the law is on your side or if you’ve had advice from an adviser or helpline, tell them.
At the end of the conversation repeat back what you have agreed, particularly anything that they have agreed to do and any dates they have agreed to do it by.
If you don't manage to do this, or you still don't entirely trust that they will do what they have promised, it's a really a good idea to send them a letter confirming what you agreed. The more you have in writing, the more evidence you'll have if you need to make a complaint.
"I had a tendency to get upset and lose my temper a bit when I tried to sort things out. I remember shouting at this woman at customer services when my computer broke. I hadn’t really worked out what I wanted to say, and ended up yelling about some pretty irrelevant stuff. It wasn't my finest moment, it was the company's fault not hers. Apart from being embarrassing, and stressful, it also made things worse! It made it hard to get my point across, generally confused the issue and made her less keen to help (understandably). Now, I try to be calm, write down what I want to say beforehand, and tell them clearly what the problem is I need their help with. It really works."