In a perfect world, we could always trust the companies we purchase from to provide the exact service or product we’re looking for. But we don’t always get what we want or need, at first. No business is perfect, but you can learn a lot about a company by how they respond when things go wrong. In the always-on world of social media, many people go online first to complain about their experience. And it’s true that many companies, particularly large ones, monitor their social media platforms and respond very quickly to those complaints. But is that always the best way to get what you want?If you’re an unhappy customer, here are a few tips that may help you and the company you bought from walk away with a smile.Remember that it was probably unintentional. Very few people get into business with the specific intent of providing bad service or products. In most cases, the company would really like to have the opportunity to make things right.Understand your rights and responsibilities. If you purchased a product ‘as is’ or without any warranty, if you weren’t clear with a service provider about your expectations, or if you caused or contributed to any damage, your rights as a customer may be affected. This doesn’t mean that you can’t still ask for the business to do something. Many companies will still try to make things right, but it may change the outcome.Gather the evidence. If you have paperwork – outlining the job that was supposed to have been done, for example, or details of a product guarantee – pull it all together when you’re ready to make your case. This is a good time to re-read any contract or warranty to understand clearly what was promised to you. A picture can be worth a thousand words; if photographs would help you tell your story, take a few.Decide what you want. If you just want to tell other people about your experience, then perhaps posting a customer review (or sharing your story on social media) is the way to go. If you want the company to make it right, however, be clear about what would accomplish that. It may be a refund, an exchange for a different product, or for the job to be fixed; your best chance of getting what you want is to ask for it.Be calm and reasonable when you contact the company. Name-calling, and yelling may make you feel better in the moment, but that probably won’t help you get what you want.Communicate clearly and courteously. State three things: what you purchased and what you expected, what you got and why it didn’t meet those expectations, and the resolution that you would like. If the person you’re speaking with is in customer service, treat them as an ally who can help you, rather than the ‘enemy’.When a company does step up to right a wrong, thank them! Most people think of posting customer reviews to complain, but it’s just as important to speak up when a company does something good.If after your best efforts, the company still isn’t willing to make a good faith effort to resolve the problem, BBB is here to help. Our dispute resolution services are provided free of charge, and sometimes having a neutral third party can help both you and the company find common ground.