Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How to Complain on Trips?

I have been thinking about this story for several days now.  The “art of complaining”  in a positive way. We have so many ways of connecting to people today. Do we really connect? And, how do we connect to others? Are we focused on our own needs?  Do we listen? Technology has made it so easy to write a few sentences and post over the internet in a matter of minutes. Do people really know how to complain effectively on their leisure and business trips? 

The definition of "complain" from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is to express grief, pain, or discontent or to make a formal accusation.

I never seem to have complaints when I go on my trips.  Oh sure, I may talk about challenges with the airlines or services which may happen along with my discoveries on trips – I really don’t have complaints.  Why is it that I don’t have complaints? I have learned to listen, talk to people of authority as incidents occur, and make the necessary changes as they happen. These are things to consider in your travels this year.

"Talk to locals" Milan, Italia 2008 Image by DW (Fun Tour Guru)
 Think of a few plans on your own, before trips. This helps me prepare for my own expectations. Yes, I have had a couple of horrifying trips. I realize they happened because I had not prepared correctly or relied on someone else to plan 100% of time. I now recognize that we all need some down time or personal time.  I like to stay in separate rooms and be able to do a few activities on my own.  It helps to be able to escape and have your independence on trips.

Try to understand challenging situations out of your control. I do my best to get the facts and understand the other side of the story.  An example is when I was returning to San Francisco from London.  Minutes after our flight departed London, the pilot announced that we were returning back to London because of damage to the wings of the plane. When we were getting off, we could see a hole in one of the wings. We were escorted to a secured room and not permitted to leave (because we had cleared customs) while we waited for the change of planes. The positive news – we were safe and comfortable. We did get snacks, drinks (thank you to the airport and airline employees), and able to notify families/friends of the delay.  And we returned home safely.  (This story was 20 years ago, no complaints, a great trip.)

Don’t criticize, remember to compliment others.  It is okay if you don’t speak the same language – be prepared and have the tools necessary to help out. And, don’t criticize other people. Listen.
  • Reserve a familiar hotel or car brand which may have concierges or workers to assist you.
  • Keep an important words at a glance booklet (easy to assemble yourself) to help you speak with people.
  • Carry a paper map with you – people will see you may need help with directions. I find people enjoy helping.
  • Listen, don’t get angry. Talk slowly. You will find a way to communicate, perhaps with your hands or through pictures.
Isle of Capri, Italia 2008 Image by DW (Fun Tour Guru) & This is not the Funicular...

Yes, sometimes you may receive bad service or be in an undeniably negative situation. I do remember trying to board the Funicular (tram) on the Isle of Capri (Italy) with a group of extremely stubborn mob of people. It was a hot Italian holiday weekend and many of the local people had the day off.  We were swallowed up into this wall to wall group of people who were pushing and shoving to get on board the tramway. No way out. My group did our best to stay together. It wasn’t fun however we managed to board and ride the tram. You just have to muscle your way through situations like this together. Try to smile even though you may have other thoughts. It was great to have my own smaller group with me.  During this there was no one available to complain to. (Remember, I do have several excellent memories of the entire trip.)

What would you have done in this situation?

This may be the time for you to give a kind gesture in return. Understand what people may do in other regions.  Don’t make demands. Whether you are traveling within USA or in other countries – remember each person may have their own procedure with a good reason that works for them. Do not yell -- 

Try giving compliments. Ask questions. Listen carefully. Talk slowly. Have people explain their needs in their own words.  And LAUGH together.

Don't worry, smile on trips!  ~~ The Fun Tour Guru  

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