Having worked in customer service, I have a pretty good idea of how to make an effective customer complant. Lately I have been in a couple of situations where it is obvious that the main issue is the lack of available employees at large companies. That is an issue that isn't easily resolved by a well stated and directed complaint.
I have been looking for a new patio umbrella. My issue is that I need a smaller one than the 9 foot ones usually sold. I have been online and on the phone for days and finally thought I had found a solution in my price range at Ikea. It is a 40 minute drive, so i double checked that they had them in stock before I left. Ikea is a huge store. I wandered through the entire store looking for an employee who might tell me where the umbrellas might be (they don't have a designated outdoor/patio department). I never saw a single employee. HUGE STORE. I was there for an hour.
Fianlly in the warehouse section I found 3 employees all huddled around a computer station doing precisely nothing but standing there. I inquired about the umbrellas, they said they were sold out. I told them I checked that morning and was told they were in stock. They said the computer says they have them but they, in fact, don't have any.
So I asked about the fact that there were not any employees in the other departments of the store - had I just missed them? Nope. They were pretty much it except for the ones at the cash registers and the restaurants.
So what can we, as consumers, do when we feel that the companies we frequent are shortchanging us by not having enough employees available to serve us? Not to mention that the tools that are meant to save us from useless treks for unavailable merchandise are mismanaged?
Go to the Corporate website and write a complaint. Give specifics and be as businesslike as possible. Businesses tend to ignore the ranters. I know we did. Explain how the incident or business practice impacts you and why you plan to take your business elsewhere, assuming you do!
Go online and use Yelp and other social networking sites. I got a refund from a company that had refused to issue me a refund when I made a complaint on a site called Complaints.com.
So that is what I did and now I will just let it go - deep breath - and I have paid twice as much for an umbrella from another source and I will pick it up on Monday.