The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

There’s An Art To Being A Complainer

On May 13th, 2013, posted in: Uncategorized by

As you are aware, in recent times I used this space to get fussy with Southwest Airlines. The gist of my concern was that their personnel could not either tell time or the truth, because a few minutes in their world is substantially different than a few minutes in ours.

As noted in this blog, I did send the same letter to the president of Southwest. Well, it was Tuesday of this past week when I received a phone call from the Customer Relations Department. Samantha was her name; she said to call her Sam.

She was perfect for her role as Chief Cleaner-upper. We had a wonderful conversation in which she said all the right things. I expected nothing less. She was sensitive, empathetic and willing to take action. She listened more than spoke. Sam had been well-trained on the art of the apology. I appreciated her attempts at reconciliation.

While there is an art to the apology, I would imagine that there is also an art to the complaint. I don’t know if such an edict exists, but there is no doubt a way to wage one’s concerns in order to gain credibility and favor. Here are my ideas on such an effort as the “COMPLAINER.”

First, remain calm and rational. Be considerate and respectful. Ensure that your body language and tone of voice are not demeaning or degrading. Why? Because you gain one’s attention and focus. When the threat of conflict is diminished, things can get done. Set the right environment for fixing the issue, not promulgating further angst. Congress may want to take note. Schoolyard bullying doesn’t get anything accomplished.

Next, it is important to recognize that loud usually masks a lack of substance in the eye of the beholder. I’ve been yelled at over the years, and it has accomplished nothing. The problem is overshadowed by the personal behavior. Trust me, when one’s focus shifts from the issue at hand to thoughts of when the tantrum being thrown will go viral and we can watch this crazy person on You Tube, nothing will get done – except you will be humiliated in millions of hits around the globe. If you’re especially wild, you may even make the monologues of the late night television hosts. Oh, your family will blush with pride.

Next, state your problem and refrain from repeating it over and over and over again. Once stated in an articulate, calm manner with respectful actions and a lower voice, it is time to move to a resolution. After all, that’s what you came for, right? Or is it?

For some people, it’s just about the complaint. There is no desire for resolve. Resolve means I have nothing to complain about. If complaining is what you live for, disregard the previous paragraphs. Also, please ignore me as much as possible. Complainers for the purpose of complaining are the worst. I have no room for unconstructive drivel. Debbie Downers be advised: leave me alone.

After you become artful as a complainer, you will find that things get resolved and both parties usually emerge the better off for it. By all means, state your case when necessary, but there is a way to do it that gets results. Please tell me that’s your goal.

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