comscore Polite complaints can be effective | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Polite complaints can be effective

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Question: It seems like you get a lot of letters from people who are mad about something that happened, but didn’t bother to complain until well after the fact. Could you perhaps say a few words about complaining effectively and politely?

Answer: I think that if more people complained in a nice manner about reasonable issues, they’d be happier people.

For example, let’s say your hotel room’s air-conditioning system has two settings: Arctic and Antarctic. Rather than having a miserable stay because you’re freezing, call the front desk and ask if they will send someone to fix it or whether they can move you to another room. There is nothing wrong with this — unless you act like a diva about it.

If the dude next to you on a plane is wearing headphones and belting out, "We are never ever ever getting back together," tap him lightly on the arm and say, "I’m sorry, but I’m trying to sleep. Would you mind not singing?" He’ll get the idea.

In most cases — not all, but most — people are simply unaware they’re doing something annoying. If you point it out nicely, they’ll stop. Same thing with hotels. They want you to have a good experience, so if something is wrong, speak up during your stay and let them attempt to fix it.

Dear Readers: This is the 200th and final installment of the "Dear TripAdvisor" column. It’s been great fun to write, and I want to thank you for taking the time to read it and to send me questions and comments. I wish you safe, happy and rudeness-free travels! You can find me on Twitter at @lesleycarlin.

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