How to Complain Successfully

Posted by on 13 Sep, 2007

It is a known fact that Bridezillas love complaining. Why? We think Professional Complainer Miss B.L. Ochman says it best: “I think you should demand to get what you pay for… If nobody ever complains, mediocrity is perpetuated.”

After hearing this immortal statement, we knew that there was a Bridezilla in our midst, and that we simply had to do an article based on Ochman’s advice on how to successfully complain.

But should you need more proof of Ochman’s complaint credentials before we begin, consider the following:
What clients have received as a result of Ochman’s successful kvetches:

A) A New Fridge
B) A New Washing Machine
C) New Cars
D) A box of Twinkies for a guy who’s entire carton came without cream (we know, cruel)

If Ochman could score a new Whirlpool for one of her clients, surely you could get a discounted wedding dress or at least some complimentary champagne for all the pain and suffering a Bridezilla bears. Read on for tips on how to try Ochman’s complaint tactics at home:

5) The pen is mightier than the phone cord.

Although Bridezilla is the first to realize that slamming the receiver over and over against the limo windowdoes offer an unparalleled burst of instant satisfaction, apparently it doesn’t actually get you what you want. When it comes to successful complaining, a good old-fashioned poison pen letter works better than the phone,Ochman says. This is because-much like when Bridezilla chases her former deadbeat Groomzilla interstate for spousal support-a paper trail is your best partner in crime. As Ochman points out, whereas sniveling mid-level employees might deny a phone call ever happened, sending a letter sets off a chain of recorded history that requires response. States the complaint maven, “If you write a letter, somebody has to do something. But it’s not enough to just write a letter, you have to send copies of that letter to people who can adversely affect the company.” Likewise, if you complain in person, write down everything that was said. Not only will this look super-intimidating, it will help your complaint gain legitimacy.

4Go Straight to the Top.

Bridezillas are no strangers to say, waltzing past flustered receptionists in order to get first crack at an A-list florist, and the same principle applies here. There is no need to go through a standard customer service department ever because the people that work there are normally stoned and/or disgruntled housewife types, so why bother? As Ochman says, “The people that are charged with dealing with customers unfortunately tend to be minimum wage people stuck in really horrible jobs, or they’re in a call centre with somebody at their elbow, and they have a quota of how many people they have to talk to in a day, and how soon they have to get off the phone. They’re miserable.” The Bridezilla lesson here? Ranting and raving to such bottom-feeders will only waste time and break Bridezilla’s normally indomitable spirit. Save your breath by addressing your letter or statement to the president of marketing, or better, the president of the company.

3) Secretaries are the Secret Weapon.

We know what you are thinking: A CEO-level person won’t have time to respond to every griping complaint that comes across their desk. True, but their secretaries do! As Ochman says, “It’s very unlikely that you’re going to get the chairman of the board on the phone, or the president, but you will get his or her secretary, and that person is charged with making things happen. If they call customer service and say ‘Take care of this person,’ trust me when I tell you’ll get taken care of.” Bridezilla Bottom line? Since the secretary is the person fielding a President’s correspondence, a particularly formidable complaint letter will have that secretary scurrying to remedy the situation, lest they risk the wrath of their employer, or worse, Bridezilla herself.

2) Get a Name and Number.

When complaining, the first thing you want to do is get full contact information on the person to whom you are complaining, as well as the name of their supervisor. Once you secure this information, the employee is now accountable and will be much more likely to help you than if they are able to remain anonymous. If the employee pretends they can’t give you their last name due to work policies, Ochman recommends asking for their employee number instead. If they refuse to give you any of the above, there is no way that person is going to help you solve your problem and you need to move on to someone who will. “The only people who won’t tell you their names are hookers and people that don’t want to be held accountable of what they’re going to say,” says Ochman.

1) Threaten the Internet.

If you are dealing with a particularly prickly wedding planner who refuses to take you side on say, floor-to-ceiling Swarovski crystals, remind them of the many wedding sites on the internet (ahem Bridezilla.com) where you could easily ruin their good name, as other brides would certainly take your word as a fellow Bridezilla over some schmoozy salesperson’s. That should do the trick.

Bridezilla Bonus Tip:

When it comes to complaining, steely Works Better than Pyschotic. The number one key to successful complaining is, it can’t happen if you get thrown out of an establishment or arrested. Moreover, people are much more intimidated by icy rage than bug-eyed ranting and raving. Case in Point: Would Bridezilla rather throw down in a dark alley with Martha Stewart of Janice Dickison? We rest our case. On this note, no swearing, no screaming, and plenty of long seething silences are the best way to scare people into doing what you want. For example, if they try the old, “Well you are the only person who’s ever complained about this,” a sweet and simple,”Well, I’m sure I’ll be the first of billions if you don’t correct this immediately,” should suffice nicely. One way to accomplish calm in the face of idiocy is to force yourself to smile while you talk.

A Final Point of Information: B.L. Ochman claims there is one exception to the always-complain rule: food service workers. “I’d be very careful about complaining to somebody who’s going to touch my food,” Ochman warns. If I was going to make any complaints about anything, it would be on the way out while I was paying the bill. But given the fact that this person could do God knows what to your food between the kitchen and here, this is a situation where I wouldn’t do a lot of complaining. I might politely say to him ‘excuse me, we ordered soup’ but I don’t think that I would go much further than that.” Of course, as very high-profile persons Bridezillas are at high risk of being poisoned, but this is precisely why we employ Tasters, err Bridesmaids, so this concern really doesn’t apply to us.

Some information taken from:
CBC MarketPlace “Insider interview: B.L. Ochman, Professional Complainer

Leave a Comment

  1. On 17 Sep, 2007, kelleyatbrideorama said:

    I invented complaining. For me, its like a part time job. If there was a way to get paid for it, I would. Anyoneknow of a way? Didnt think so. It helps me get through the day if I can vent, complain, etc. In the end though, 90% of it is harmless anyway. Its just words that make me feel better.

    Reply to this comment
  2. On 20 Sep, 2007, your Wedding Diva said:

    I love B.L.’s blog. It’s on my blogroll. She always has great advice on the marketing side.

    Reply to this comment