It is a pleasure to hear from you, I hope you continue to enjoy excellent health and have good spirits to learn new things from this course, that is why I welcome you to our sixth class.
How are you feeling after all the topics we have covered so far?
We have been reviewing quite a few topics and now building a strong base to communicate at a B1 level (intermediate). Hopefully you are feeling more confident every day.
In this class we will work with commercial branding and how to form a formal complaint, and even how to respond positively or negatively to such complaints.
Before we start on brand names, try to read the following without a translator support and see how are your reading skills and general comprehension using the topic of the main commercial brands from 2022:
Apple holds on to top spot with record valuation
Apple has retained the title of the world’s most valuable brand following a 35% increase to US$355.1 billion – the highest brand value ever recorded in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking.
Apple had a stellar 2021, highlighted by its achievement at the start of 2022 – being the first company to reach a US$3 trillion market valuation. The tech giant’s success historically lied in honing its core brand positioning, but its more recent growth can be attributed to the company’s recognition that its brand can be applied effectively to a much broader range of services.
The iPhone still accounts for around half of the brand’s sales. However, this year saw Apple give more attention to its other suite of products with a new generation of iPads, an overhaul to the iMac, and introduction of AirTags. Its range of services, from Apple Pay to Apple TV, has also gone from strength to strength and become of increasing importance to the brand’s success.
Amazon and Google also saw good levels of growth, both keeping their spots in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking behind Apple in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Amazon joined Apple in crossing the US$300 billion brand value mark with a 38% increase to US$350.3 billion, navigating global supply chain issues and a labor shortage in the process. Since June 2021, it has hired 133,00 new employees and recently announced plans to hire a further 125,000 hourly workers in anticipation of continued growth.
Amazon sees logistics as key, developing its own end-to-end supply chain through a growing fleet of trucks, vans, and airplanes. Across 2020 and 2021, the brand has invested an estimated US$80 billion in its logistics division, compared to a combined US$58 billion in the previous five years.
Google saw a similar brand value growth of 38% to US$263.4 billion. The brand relies on advertising for the vast majority of its revenue, and was hurt at the start of the pandemic as advertising spend dropped due to uncertainty. However, as the world adjusted to the new normal, and with people spending more and more time online, advertising budgets opened back up and Google’s business rebounded, resulting in a healthy uplift in brand value.
Tripling in brand value over the past year, TikTok is the world’s fastest-growing brand. With an astounding 215% growth, the entertainment app’s brand value has increased from US$18.7 billion in 2021 to US$59.0 billion this year. Claiming 18th spot among the world’s top 500 most valuable brands, it is the highest new entrant to the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking.
With COVID-19 restrictions still in effect across the globe throughout 2021, digital entertainment, social media, and streaming services saw continued growth, and TikTok’s rise is testament to how media consumption is changing. With its offering of easily digestible and entertaining content, the app’s popularity spread across the globe, however, it also acted as a creative outlet and provided a way for people to connect during lockdown.
(Abstract recovered on 19/03/2022 from https://brandirectory.com/rankings/global/)
- What percentage were you able to get at first glance?
- What are the main ideas?
- Are you feeling more comfortable with your reading skills?
- Hopefully you are feeling more confident of the subject after the following class.
- Let’s start then.
Desarrollo del tema
Before we start, do you know how to pronounce the most common brand names form global economy?
Check the following video to see if you are doing ok.
Most of these companies have a Customer Service Department which is the direct one-on-one interaction between a consumer making a purchase and a representative of the company that is selling it. Here many claims and complaints are answered every day and it is very useful to be able to formulate them correctly. Check the following video for a role play practice.
Politeness is universally appreciated, even when making complaints, no matter what language a person speaks, but in learning English as a Second Language (ESL), some students may struggle with formulas and functions of certain English phrases meant to politely start a conversation involving a complaint.
There are a number of formulas used when complaining in English, but it’s important to remember that a direct complaint or criticism in English can sound rude or aggressive. For most English speakers, it’s preferred that others express their dissatisfaction indirectly, and introduce the complaint with an amicable introductory clause such as «I’m sorry to have to say this but…» or «excuse me if I’m out of line, but…»
It is important to note, however, that these phrases don’t directly translate into Spanish so understanding the basic function of words like «sorry» go a long while trying to make polite co English speakers typically start their complaints with an apology or indirect reference to propriety. This is largely because politeness is a major element of English rhetoric.
Some phrases that English speakers may use to start complaints politely:
- I’m sorry to have to say this but…
- I’m sorry to bother you, but…
- Maybe you forgot to…
- I think you might have forgotten to…
- Excuse me if I’m out of line, but…
- There may have been a misunderstanding about…
- Don’t get me wrong, but I think we should…
In each of these phrases, the speaker begins the complaint with an admission of error on the speaker’s part, relieving some of the assumed tension between speaker and audience by letting the listener know that no one involved is blameless.
Whether it be because of contrasting ideas or just because a speaker wants to say «no» nicely, these introductory phrases can be helpful to maintain respectful rhetoric in conversation.
Forming a Polite Complaint
After you have understood the concept of introductory phrases to complaints, the next important element of conversation is keeping the complaint itself polite. Although being imprecise or vague does have its benefits when complaining, clarity and good intentions go a lot further in maintaining the cordiality of conversation.
It’s also important is not to come across as attacking while making a complaint, so the complaint itself should start with phrases like «I think» or «I feel» to indicate that the speaker isn’t accusing the listener of something as much as he or she is starting a conversation about the disagreement.
Take, for instance, an employee who is upset at another for not following the company policy while working at a restaurant together, that person might tell the other «Excuse me if I’m out of line, but I feel like you may have forgotten that closing waiters need to refill the salt shakers before leaving.» By introducing the complaint with an apology, the speaker allows the listener to not feel threatened and opens up a conversation about company policy instead of scolding or demanding that person do their job better.
Redirecting focus and calling for a solution at the end of a complaint is another good way to address the issue. For instance, one might say «Don’t get me wrong, but I think it might be better if we focus on this task before doing the one you’re working on» to a coworker who is not working on the right part of a project.
In the following videos we can practice how to make complaints
- I have a complaint to make (about)…
- Sorry to bother you but…
- I’m sorry to say this but…
- I’m afraid I’ve got a complaint about…
- I’m afraid there is a slight problem with…
- Excuse me but there is a problem about…
- I want to complain about…
- I’m angry about…
- May I speak to your supervisor?
Positive Answers to complaints:
- I’m so sorry, but this will never occur / happen again.
- I’m sorry, we promise never to make the same mistake again.
- I’m really sorry; we’ll do our utmost/best not to do the same mistake again.
Negative answers to complaints:
- Sorry, there is nothing we can do about it.
- I’m afraid, there isn’t much we can do about it.
- We are sorry, but the food is just alright.
Practice with the following video and complete the conversation afterwards:
- Hello? This is Janine from Smith and Decker Associates
- Hi, Janine. It’s Cathy here. How can I help you today?
- We have a problem, with the new office furniture. We ordered it last week, and it arrived yesterday.
- Oh dear! I’m so sorry. Let me just pull up your details. Could you tell me more about the problem?
- Yes, of course. the wrong furniture was delivered. I’ll send you the order right now.
- Ok. Thanks. Oh, I see there was some kind of mix-up. We’ll get the correct furniture delivered as soon as possible.
- That’s great! Thanks so much for your help Cathy.
- It’s my pleasure. I’m always glad to be of assistance.
For more practice on the topic, you can visit: Dealing With Complaints for ESL Customer Service Reps
Mistakes happen. When they do, customer service representatives often need to handle consumers’ complaints. It’s also important for customer service representatives to gather information to help resolve the problem and answer to costumers’ complaints.
To sustain in the corporate world, it is necessary to keep learning and improving, and it is only possible when we take our consumer complaints and feedback seriously. Nowadays, in the digital era, modern technology has made easier for businesses and customers to connect through the internet. Customers from all over the world easily write review or file complaints about the product/service or business online with ease. Many of the phrases provided will help you navigate a complaint with a large international corporation.
In this class Key vocabulary and phrases for customer service representatives dealing with complaints were reviewed and it may be handy while dealing with those situations in real life.
We have reached the end of the session and I can only congratulate you for getting to this part of the course. I invite you to continue with your formative process by performing the assigned task and send it accordingly. I’ll find you in your next class.
Fuentes de información
How to Make Complaints for ESL Students
Global 500 2022 | The Annual Brand Value Ranking | Brandirectory