I received a complaint this morning. Which is fine. I wrote a book on customer service and was happy to include the cliché ‘Complaints Are A Gift’.

This was an interesting one. It was from a member of a pop-up group I’ve been running over the last week called ‘Write That Book’. The idea was to run a 4-day challenge to take participants on a journey from being potential authors (with no formed ideas), to having fully formed concepts, titles, promises and a few paragraphs on paper. And to do this in a week.

I had no idea how popular it would be – and boy was it popular.

We’ve had 25,000 comments and posts in the last 7 days!

The whole programme was free.  I wanted to create a buzz and something so amazing that the participants might be excited enough to join my Write That Book Masterclass, which launches tonight.

Every day, I would do a live training session, answer questions and provide content.

I then spent 12 hours a day commenting on posts, offering feedback and giving encouragement. It’s been exhausting – but brilliant.

The challenge finishes with the Write That Book Webinar tonight, which will include more training and a whole bunch of prizes for everything from best title, to what made me laugh out loud (you’ll love the winner of this – still laughing).

So why complain?


The person who complained didn’t feel as if I had given them enough of my personal time or offered a detailed enough critique of their work, especially on Day 4.

Reading their email, I went through a rapid series of thoughts and emotions. Here’s what happened:

  1. Pi**ed off – The whole programme didn’t cost you a penny!
  1. Frustrated – I wonder if I could have done more?
  1. Myopic – check what I did write, look at the stats on the page (discover we’ve had 25,000 comments)
  1. Flip It – ask a better question
  1. Struggle for the question; then ask a Flip It Classic, ‘What have I learned?’
  1. I’ve learned to manage expectations and take responsibility.
    If someone believes they are going to receive detailed feedback on every post, then they must have picked that up from someone – ME!
  1. Turn it in to a positive.  Hmmm write a newsletter.

So, there we are.

If you’d like to join my (free) WTB webinar at 8pm tonight which will include ‘The five main reasons why you haven’t written and published your book (yet) and what to do about it’ there’s still time.

Just clickhere and register your place with Zoom.

Be Brilliant!


PS Could I have asked a better question? Reacted differently? As always, we’d love to know your thoughts. Please post below.



  1. May 18th 2020 by Tim Howard

    Hi Michael, don’t worry about it. You get it right 99% of the time. You’re doing even more than normal helping people in these unusual times; not many people, especially in your line of work, can say that. Plus, you can’t please everyone all the time; as my darling mum would say, “They clearly have other issues……” Take care, Tim.

  2. May 18th 2020 by Kevin

    Michael can appreciate your frustration….. however as someone once said to me….. the customer is always the customer…. even when they are wrong! This flip it always helped me frame a constructive response.

  3. May 18th 2020 by clive scott

    So this guy complains about too little support and feedback!


    (1) Gratitude;
    I am so pleased you contacted me to let me know;

    Could I just say that as I have had 25,000 comments and am giving 12 hours each day to support and advise you on this no cost course, could you try to spend a little more time thinking about what you have created and ask yourself some realistic questions about how you can improve.

    No Good?

    (2) Advice;
    Write a set of questions that ask you to examine your work, considering a paragraph or page, and then treat this as a self-improvement task.
    Produce your own critique of the work.

    Is it interesting?
    Is it boring?
    Does it flow smoothly or bump about like a dirt track?
    Is it telling the story you are trying to tell, or filling a page with wind and cold wet foggy rain?
    Can you rewrite this section to create the effect you want to read about?

    (2) Compile a FAQ sheet of advice and positive encouragement with links to your free or paid for resources.

    (3) Ask all attendees to the course for permission to share their work with others and ask them to give one or more people some form of feedback.

    Possibly forming self-help and supportive study groups.

    (4) Offer a free e-book or pdf download of collected pointers to improve.

    (5) Offer a place in a forthcoming webinar.

    (6) Ask those who are able; to post help, advice, or focused questions to guide others towards a better state of mind to access while writing.

    My own solution is to listen to Music, Meditation soundtracks and relaxation techniques; Before, during or after a period of work.

    Alternatives are save your work, wait 30 minutes to 3 days, and write it again without visiting the first piece, then compare the two to produce an improved version.

    Hey, writing is wordy art and easier to change than painting another picture.

    Hope I have been constructive and shown my gratitude for all you are doing to support and guide others.


  4. May 18th 2020 by Alun Romano

    Amazing that you can turn it into a positive. Me, I’d punch him on the nose or ignore the ridiculous feedback. The best and the worst in people, including me, is strong right now!

  5. May 18th 2020 by Michelle Almeida

    How frustrating! Personally I was delighted that you had found the time to comment on my posts and I think the course was fantastic. For some people, the glass is always half empty! There was a lot of positivity and support within the group in addition to your comments, and this is all as a result of something you initiated. I think you should sleep easy tonight!

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