The Art of Effective Complaining

Bumped from your flight? Cable guy didn't show up - again? Your cell phone company won't exchange your damaged device? Your expensive meal tastes terrible?

Don't get mad -- get a refund, or some other form of compensation!

There are good ways and bad ways to complain.

David Bach, author of "Start Over, Finish Rich," filled in "The Early Show on Saturday Morning" viewers on how to make your complaints heard and get satisfaction.

First things first - know this: The customer isn't always right. In fact, today's customer often had a sense of entitlement. Get over yourself!

But what a business wants first and foremost is a satisfied customer. And every complaint is ultimately an opportunity for a provider to get a raving fan, if handled right. That's what they want.

Still, you have to approach it right.

Here's how:

Don't Complain -- Sell!

Grandma always said, to complain is foolish, to sell is holy.

The point is, the world doesn't need a complainer. The reason we complain should be to get a result. What do you want? You need to know what result you want before you open your mouth. Suggest that solution. That's selling.

Start your complaint with an apology

My grandmother literally used to start with, "I'm so sorry to trouble you, but..." I start with, "I'm so sorry to bother you, I don't normally complain, but I really need your help. I know this isn't your fault, but I'm hoping you can help me."

It sidarms the person you're talking to, sets the stage, and puts the person on your side.

Use honey not vinegar

Don't be rude. State nicely what happened, and how you think it should be fixed. Explain the problem, what you expected to happen, and what you want to happen..

Speak to the person who has the power to fix it

If the person you talk to can't help you ask for a supervisor, manager, president, etc.

Put it in writing

The moment you put something in writing, someone has to respond. E-mails get read first. When all else fails, letters get results. Write a short letter to the CEO of the company. Personalize, keep it short, state what you want, and "Fedex it." You'll hear back from somebody. Perhaps not the CEO, but somebody who will solve the problem for you.

Go Online

Start with a company's Facebook page. Most businesses today have them, and are on them every day. It's often the fastest way to get your issue resolved. Some companies even hire people just to respond to Facebook.

Then try Twitter.

Then, company Web site message boards. Again, companies have people on their message boards just to keep customers satisfied.

Then, review sites.

But be careful: You don't want to be sued!