“Do you know who I am?”

“I spent so much money on this product—I expected more!”

“I’m going to go to social media and let everyone know how bad the service is here.”

I recently attended the CCA Global summer convention in Denver, Colorado (see our feature and video coverage). Over breakfast one morning, a group of retailers chatted about how customers have become more unreasonable since the pandemic. They shared how customers will threaten to write nasty reviews on social media before giving the store a chance to make things right. These same customers may hold back an unreasonable amount of money over a very small detail in a job that didn’t meet expectation. Or, in one case, someone refused to pay $5,000 after a job was completed because the installation crew damaged a $250 table. Seems like many people are still recovering from what was a very challenging year.

The words “complain” and “vent” are often used interchangeably, but they have different purposes. Complaining is making a formal accusation or charge with the hope of getting someone to do something differently. Venting is to give rigorous or emotional expression where you’re seeking validation or sympathy.

We all know how the compliment sandwich works: The idea is to start with praise, then give of criticism, and finish with a bit more praise. The visual representation winds up looking like a sandwich with bread and the filling. Then there's the complaint sandwich: a series of three statements calibrated to make people more receptive to changing their ways. In his book The Squeaky Wheel, psychologist Guy Winch outlines how the first slice of bread in the sandwich is a positive statement that will hopefully make the listener less defensive when the complaint arrives. A little more kindness seems to do the trick better than kicking and screaming.

Speaking of kindness, we have two new kind and smart Floor Trends columnists who are masters at helping you get what you want: be it more flooring sales, happier employees and customers, or higher margins.

Pami Bhullar is the vice president of business development in North America for The Dixie Group. Pami’s singular mission: genuine desire to help people grow not only professionally but personally. He has dedicated over 40 years of his life in all aspects of the floor covering industry and is an inaugural recipient of WFCA's Luminary Award for 2021.

In his first column with Floor Trends, Paul Dominie, regional vice president at Floor Source and an industry consultant, talks about the power of positivity. “My unique ability to be analytical as well as creative has allowed me to understand all aspects of business,” he said. “I am driven to help companies reach bottom-line profitable results.”

Like what you’re reading....or not? Send us a compliment or a complaint sandwich at kernt@bnpmedia.com.