How many times have you called customer service to get an answer to a question or complain about a product? How many times have you hung up frustrated or angry?
The first thing you need to do when calling a company is be prepared. Have your account number and statement in front of you (if applicable). Make some notes as to what questions you are going to ask. Write down what the problem is and what steps you’ve taken so far to alleviate that problem. If you’ve called before make sure you have the date, time and name of the person you last spoke with. Remember most companies keep record of your calls, so it’s unwise to try and claim something that wasn’t yet done.
Once you get through to a live person, calmly describe what the problem is. If you are told that you’ve reached the wrong department and you are going to be transfered, ask for the direct number. By having a direct number you can call the right department in the future and not have sit on hold or worry about being accidently disconnected during the transfer process. Nothing is more frustrating than having to call back only to be told you’re being transfered again.
Once you reach someone who can help you, ask for their name. No matter how upset you are it’s important that you don’t convey that to the customer service representative on the other end of the line. Start out by saying that you need their help and describe as clearly as possible what the problem is and what you’ve done so far. Put yourself in their shoes. Most people in customer service take the job because they genuinely want to help people. That customer rep didn’t cause your problem and screaming at them won’t help. Most customer reps appreciate the customers who call and have all the information in front of them and are friendly and easygoing. As my momma used to say: “You draw more flies with sugar than vinegar.”
If the customer service representative you are working with cannot solve your problem to your satisfaction the next step is to ask for a supervisor or manager. Make sure you get the manager’s name from the customer rep you’re talking to and a direct number to the manager if at all possible. Remember, there is always a chain of command and if that manager cannot solve the problem you need to thank them and ask to talk to the next level of management. Make notes of everything you’ve been told so far and by whom. Most of all don’t be intimidated. You’ll find that most higher level managers don’t want to be bothered with the small stuff and will advise the lower level managers to “solve the problem”.
With a little patience and time every problem can be solved. Most important, if you have a good customer service experience make sure you acknowledge it by sending an email or letter to the company praising the individual who helped you. Many companies have outstanding service awards for employees who provide excellent customer service, and those are the customer service reps we all want to talk to.