Chances are good that at some point, you’ll want to complain about something. It could be a cold meal, a faulty touch-screen or a holiday from hell. Whatever the reason, there’s no point in doing it unless you’re going to win. We’ve put together these tips to show you how.

Follow these tips to give yourself the best chance of scoring a win with your complaint.

1. Consider your argument to ensure it’s logical, not emotional

Play devil’s advocate and think about your part in the incident. If the majority of the blame lies with the other party, then you know your complaint is justified.

2. Collect as much supporting proof as possible.

Put together all the documents, correspondence and photographic evidence you can find to present your side.

3. Have a clear idea of what you want from the complaint.

Narrow down your desired end result to give your complaint direction. Are you looking for an apology, a replacement, a full refund, or compensation?

4. Identify the appropriate person or department to contact.

The US Consumer Affairs Department recommends approaching the most relevant manager in charge, business department or local seller. You can also file through the Better Business Bureau.

5. Find the best channel for delivering your complaint.

A survey from Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service report found that 85% of shoppers who used social media to complain received a reply. Determine which platform the organization engages on most before proceeding.

6. Keep a record of everyone you speak to.

Maintain a diary of information you were given, promises made and any costs you’ve incurred. It will strengthen your case and make it easier to check details down the line.

7. Stay calm and respectful.

According to physician and author Andrew Weil, breathing is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Focus on your breathing to avoid going from irate to irrational in an upsetting situation.

8. Make your complaint appealing.

Author Guy Winch recommends making a “complaint sandwich” by delivering the issue between two positives. For example, “I had a wonderful evening, but service was slow. If the food arrived sooner I would definitely be a regular.

9. Escalate the issue up the chain of command.

Less than 5% of people escalate their complaint. If the person you’re dealing with is unhelpful or doesn’t have the appropriate authority, ask to speak to someone more senior to get things resolved.

10. Investigate your legal rights.

If your legal entitlements to a replacement or refund were denied or you feel you were intentionally misled, you may have grounds for a legal case. Find out more from the Federal Trade Commission or Better Business Bureau.

11. Use Facebook and Twitter to entice a response.

If the response you get isn’t satisfactory, screenshot the correspondence, add some background info and post it to the company’s Facebook or Twitter account.

12. Use review sites to inform others and get the company to hear you out. 84% of consumers say they trust online reviews on sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp as much as a personal recommendation.

There are always going to be things to complain about. Don’t let the size of the task in front of you prevent you from fighting for what’s right. Prepare your complaint thoughtfully, deliver it accurately and if they don’t listen, don’t be afraid to bring in the big guns.

To read more tips and tricks for successful complaining, visit

Author's Bio: 

Mary is a freelance writer and digital nomad currently living in rainy yet wonderful London. She writes (and reads!) about personal growth, productivity in the workplace, self improvement, and the importance of work/life balance and how to achieve it.