As with any other relationship, there are times when it might be necessary to make a complaint either to your subcontractor or your builder. The are many ways to make a complaint, but the whole idea of the complaint in the first place is for it to be listened to. Here are a few tips to making complaints that get listened to. They can be used in any kind of working relationship.
How To Make Complaints That Get Listened To
Document The Grievance
Start by making a note, either on paper or in your head of what you actual grievance is. Let’s use a fictional situation as an example. A Client is upset that the trades working on their renovation have left a big mess at the end of the working week, the client and family are living in the home during the renovation and are upset at having to clean up after trades.
So the client has been upset all weekend at having to clean up after the tradies on Friday afternoon. How do we then make this complaint so that the problem is rectified and doesn’t happen again. In this case the client should make a note, even take supporting photographs of the issues they are having.
Decide How You Would Like The Issue Resolved
Once you have a clear idea of what you issue is, it is important to decide how you would like the issue solved. In this case the client might simply wish for it not to happen again, in a more serious matter, the client might like for the builder to fix the issue. Having a clear idea of what you would like to happen to resolve the issue gives the person the complaint is made to, a real idea of what is needed to make things better.
Discus The Grievance
This step and the next are interchangeable depending on the situation at hand. Emails and text messages do not carry tone, it is important to discus the issue with the person you have a grievance with or their supervisor. In this case, it would be the builder. My suggestion is always to call either before or after sending an email, to make the builder aware of the situation and how you would like it resolved. Remain calm and reasonable, being cautious to listen as well as speaking clearly.
Follow Up With A Written Description Of The Grievance
Again this is interchangeable with the above step. If you have a strained relationship or are not a confident talker, try emailing first, outline clearly the issue, document with photos if necessary, and outline how you would like the issue resolved. Remembering that the idea of the complaint is to have the situation resolved, so be calm and reasonable.
Be Clear In Your Communication
This is important for all involved, especially when it is a professional relationship. Try not to take emotion into the situation, be clear with speech and speak calmly. When someone approaches you with an angry demenier, the other person is immediately on the defensive instead of listening effectively. Be careful not to attack, or become aggressive.
Listening Is Important
It is equally important to listen to the other side of the issue. This allows all persons in the situation to be heard and creates a more comfortable environment in which real solutions can be made. It will not always be possible to fix things as you would like them to be fixed, with good listening you will at least understand why.
Be Prepared To Compromise
Being prepared to compromise does not mean you shouldn’t have your situation resolved, it simply means that your resolution may take a different form to what you would like. In our hypothetical situation the client may wish for a cleaner to be paid for, however the builder might think the tradies cleaning up after themselves should be enough until job done. Both are reasonable, however having a cleaner come in weekly would add an extra cost to a job that has not been accounted for. Therefore the reasonable compromise here would be that the trades are spoken too in a toolbox meeting, given training around what is expected, and checked up on to ensure that the situation doesn’t arise again.
Complaints can be difficult to make, however using these guidelines, your complaint should be met with a satisfactory response. If not and your complaint is valid, approach the governing body within your state, however be sure to have made a documented attempt to resolve this with your builder, tradesperson first.
Have you been in a situation that you needed to make a complaint about? Did you have your situation resolved? Are you a good listener?