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Old 11.08.2011, 00:15
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Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

I read with interest some of the experiences of people filing complaints with businesses, but I didn't get a real sense of whether such complaints/feedback to management result in changes or resolution. Part of this may be due to how a complaint is presented (e.g., egregious ranting and whining probably won't get one very far), but do businesses take serious complaints seriously? Or is it just "Swiss" (no disrespect intended) to take customer feedback with a grain of salt?

Without going into details, I wish to report a particular employee at a gym I frequent whom I find harrassing. However, I was just wondering how the concepts of "Client" and "customer service" are treated here. Do they at least acknowledge the complaint for example? In France for example, post purchase customer service barely exists.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 11.08.2011, 00:32
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

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Without going into details, I wish to report a particular employee at a gym I frequent whom I find harrassing. However, I was just wondering how the concepts of "Client" and "customer service" are treated here. Do they at least acknowledge the complaint for example? In France for example, post purchase customer service barely exists.

Thanks for your input.
I think your wasting your time, France has way better customer service. In CH business's are run for the conveniance of staff.
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Old 11.08.2011, 00:43
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

A general rant is unlikely to be taken very seriously.

Any company that values its reputation should have a defined complaints procedure.

If the problem is explained clearly and the outcome that you will expect is stated, you have a good chance of a satisfactory outcome.

If the matter is not resolved at the first stage, ensure that everything is put in writng and you keep copies.
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Old 11.08.2011, 06:48
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

Be prepared to have the person you complained about be told exactly who you are, and given your details if they would like to contact you. I'm not sure what harassment is going on, but keep in mind that there is little in the way of protection for the complainer.
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Old 11.08.2011, 07:58
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

I think you have to be very clear about what the complaint is and what you want done about it. Too many people rant on about something (or someone) with very little fact then expect some disproportionate action to be taken by the company or shop.

For example if you go to the owner of the gym saying "So-and-so is harrassing me, I want to complain." The gym will probably just have a quiet word with the offending member of staff and ask them to cool it.

If you want something in return (e.g. to leave and have your membership partially or fully refunded) a quick whine to the manager won't cut it.

As Deep Purple says, set it all out in a letter and state clearly what you want to see done and if not, you want a full explanation why.

No customer service department in the world is going to be able to do anything if it's all based on a rant.

Good luck!
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Old 11.08.2011, 08:14
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

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I read with interest some of the experiences of people filing complaints with businesses, but I didn't get a real sense of whether such complaints/feedback to management result in changes or resolution. Part of this may be due to how a complaint is presented (e.g., egregious ranting and whining probably won't get one very far), but do businesses take serious complaints seriously? Or is it just "Swiss" (no disrespect intended) to take customer feedback with a grain of salt?

Without going into details, I wish to report a particular employee at a gym I frequent whom I find harrassing. However, I was just wondering how the concepts of "Client" and "customer service" are treated here. Do they at least acknowledge the complaint for example? In France for example, post purchase customer service barely exists.

Thanks for your input.
Generally speaking, consumer complaints in Switzerland don't go very far. However, I'm a firm believer in voicing your own opinion if you're dissatisfied with something and therefore, I'd give it a shot.
I can imagine, that it also depends on circumstances. What did the harassment consist of if I may ask?

Last edited by lost_inbroad; 11.08.2011 at 13:22.
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Old 11.08.2011, 08:14
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

And be very specific about exemples: Dates, times, where, how, when, etc.

Write down everything.
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Old 11.08.2011, 12:47
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

My personal experience is that the Swiss tend not to complain as much as people in the UK- therefore, when you do complain, you get a much better response. No copy and paste generic emails- but a genuine, well thought through reply.

Whether or not this changes anything is another matter. I complained once about people smoking in an area that should be smoke free under the law, but had no signs. Two days later there were signs everywhere. I also complained to Coop about misleading or missing price lists in one of their bistros- they did eventually correct it, but it took three months and two emails.

Don't go over the top in your complaint- stick to the facts, and don't forget to emphasise the things that you like about the business as well, and you will come across as well balanced and not a ranter.

My personal opinion is that if you do not complain to the management, you don't really have the right to grumble if there's a problem.
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Old 11.08.2011, 13:20
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

I work for a very large corporation who take this stuff very very seriously. If somebody complains about a product that we have sold - it goes back to the guy who made it for an explanation and a plan to improve the process.

Not sure about small businesses and service complaints though - but no harm trying - whats the worst that can happen?
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Old 11.08.2011, 13:24
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

I don't know the circumstances and/or what the harassment involves, but if you haven't already confronted the employee about it and let them know that you don't like what they are doing, I would try that first.
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Old 11.08.2011, 15:26
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

You have to realize as well - as a customer, they don't consider you as 'special' (i.e. because you are spending money with them, they will have all ears for your complain). Most of the time they realize that if you decide to leave because so-and-so is harassing you, you can solve the problem by leaving and going off to another gym. What's the point for them? They know someone else will take your spot and your membership fees right after you, and if push comes to shove, they always have the Swiss Government to protect them as well.

After that said, I've had three issues that I've had to file 'complaints' and escalate it until I maxed out the 'time waster' line. All in all, it took a lot more time than I'd expect and 2 out of 3 times they finally caved in and helped me. (Less to do with customer service and more to do with "shut this woman up now").
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Old 11.08.2011, 16:11
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

Overall, I think its pointless.... the idea of customer service is seriously messed up here.. (especially if you compare it to the US / UK or.. mostly anywhere else).
Here is a mostly closed economy. High standards of business and living are maintained partially/quite a bit by the state...
So businesses don't run on the "customer first" or customer is right idea...bc their well being doesn't solely depend on you.

if you're real nice, maybe they listen but you would have to go and talk personally...
that's my view on it at least!

Best,
K
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Old 11.08.2011, 16:49
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

well, customer service does not generally exist in Switzerland (or at least may be for foreign nationals), a bitter truth...
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Old 11.08.2011, 17:13
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

Funny, just see my recent post here

The bad news are: you will feel (sometimes) that it is worthless
Good news are: it is in your hands to change it. Please complain, DO complain! At least ask for the complain forms, later on you will or not file them, but having them listen you asking politely for a complaints book is very much needed. The impact of your well behaved complain will improve one (of the few) weak point of this country. Nowhere is perfect, neither here, but you have an easy point to make them improve, if speaking about customer care: ask for the forms.



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I read with interest some of the experiences of people filing complaints with businesses, but I didn't get a real sense of whether such complaints/feedback to management result in changes or resolution. Part of this may be due to how a complaint is presented (e.g., egregious ranting and whining probably won't get one very far), but do businesses take serious complaints seriously? Or is it just "Swiss" (no disrespect intended) to take customer feedback with a grain of salt?

Without going into details, I wish to report a particular employee at a gym I frequent whom I find harrassing. However, I was just wondering how the concepts of "Client" and "customer service" are treated here. Do they at least acknowledge the complaint for example? In France for example, post purchase customer service barely exists.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 11.08.2011, 17:19
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

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well, customer service does not generally exist in Switzerland (or at least may be for foreign nationals), a bitter truth...
Whereas I have had reasonably good responses to complaints here over the years, this thread has reminded me of an incident a few years ago with the staff at Jelmoli in Zurich.

I had ordered an item for my husband's birthday which wasn't in stock at that point. They said I could pick it up at the end of the following week. I went in on the following Thursday afternoon and the dozy bint had sold it to another customer. I was feckin' fuming because my husband's birthday was on the Saturday (two days away) and my gift to him was currently adorning someone else's wardrobe...

It was in the days when I didn't speak much German so in my rage I just switched to English and the woman had to get a colleague to deal with me.

It basically boiled down to the fact I should have come in earlier to pick it up, despite the fact they had said it would be in at the end of the following week (which I had double checked at the time). They would not accept any responsibility for it.

After a hasty run around town to pick up a stand-by gift for my husband and an apologetic birthday, my husband came with me back to Jelmoli and gave them both barrels in Swiss German (he's a bit of a beast once he gets a bee in his bonnet ).

The best they could offer was to get another of the items for us and they gave us a 25% discount. What piffed me off the most was the fact they never apologised nor did they admit any wrong-doing.

I wish I'd have known EF in those days - oooh, would I have had a big fat rant that day!
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Old 11.08.2011, 17:27
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

If you ordered some brown sugar, and the brown sugar was not that you had in mind , and you phone them.

The sequence of defences will be :

a) We never sold you any brown sugar - supply details of order
b) "Yes we sold you brown sugar" repeated as though they were informing you of something.
c) Stonewall denial. We did not send to you the wrong thing. We sent you brown sugar. Expect a repetition of (b) followed a repetition of what you already told them - as though you are stupid.
d) I have here the packaging and the details including the delivery receipt.
e) "They must have delivered your package to someone else" (ie delivery company's fault)
f) "If not, then you must have ordered the wrong thing". Jump to (a)
g) "Bitte ? I am not understanding you" (and your valid discrediting of my BS that I am feeding you)
h) "Still not understanding you." Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Dial tone.


My advice is :
a) Keep copies of everything and do everything in writing or email. Phone doesn't not count.
b) Send copies to company directors and pretend you have sent it to Meier & Meier Rechtsanwalt by indicating them in copy.
c) A week letter send another one with all the email/letter trail attached expressing your disgust at their lack of response.

Start from the assumption that the company is stupid and doesn't care. Then you will not be disappointed.

I once had a long telephone arguement with a woman representing an well-known insurance company who could not understand why I needed to know my new quote for the forthcoming years insurance before it was too late to cancel the policy.

Whether you are prepared to fight-the-fight or simply vote with your feet and go elsewhere is up to you. Don't be surprised if you are expected not just to tolerate incompetence but to pay for rectification.

Like so many things in Switzerland this kind of crap service prevails through lack of competition, and if I could have one wish (other than Dougal's Breakfast spent time reading and less time posting) it would be that swiss industry received a serious wakeup call.

AYB
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Old 11.08.2011, 17:33
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Re: Filing Customer Complaints - Is it worth it?

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Not sure about small businesses and service complaints though - but no harm trying - whats the worst that can happen?
erm...you can get sued. or at least be threatened to be sued. While I think this is an extreme case, it apparently can happen.

My experience is that customer service is not as important as your money. And if you are not happy with the service, you still have to pay so it doesn't really matter (in general) what you have to say...
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