If you’ve yelled and yelled and yelled at customer service representatives and still didn’t get anywhere with your complaint, it’s time to find a new method.
Last week we told you the many reasons why people yell at customer service reps, and how it can be about much more than trying to get a problem solved. More than half of our readers told us they yell at customer service reps at least some of the time. So today, we look at ways other than yelling to get what you want from a customer service rep. They may all be things you should have learned in kindergarten, and are worth repeating:
Comedian Jim Dailakis says he always is polite and patient with customer service. Airlines have given him $200 flight vouchers and upgraded him after he politely complained about flights that didn’t go well. “The matter always gets dealt with in the speediest fashion and oftentimes I’ll end up joking with them,” Dailakis says. “I’ve also noticed that they’ll go above and beyond what I’ve asked for in the first place.”
Rich Redman, a former manager for a customer service team, says making reasonable requests instead of angry demands helps him get what he was promised.
Redman bought a refrigerator from Sears a few years ago and after almost two weeks of glitches in delivery, he explained to a customer service rep that he had paid for a refrigerator that was to be delivered in three days. He asked what the company would prefer: Return his money so he could buy from someone who could deliver, or deliver his refrigerator. Two days later, Sears delivered the next larger model of refrigerator.
He never yelled, and had reasonable expectations for a refund or delivery, which got him a better refrigerator than he had paid for.
Ask for a Supervisor
The first person you reach probably doesn’t have the power to change the rules and give you what you want, so asking to go up the ladder is an easy compromise that they can fulfill.
Dianna Bari admits to yelling at customer service reps a few times, but tries to stop herself from getting to that boiling point by insisting on speaking with a manager — without giving any details to a lower level rep no matter how much they press her. It’s frustrating to explain something to a rep, only to have to explain it again to a supervisor, so Bari politely asks for a manager.
She calmly explains to the person in charge how she has been inconvenienced, how valuable her time is (hours spent on the problem and what that equates to in her billing rate for clients), and how she is a very loyal, habitual customer who needs a lot to stop using a service or product.
A manager at a computer support company recently gave her a refund, $150 gift card and his personal email address if she ever wants to use their service again (which she’ll get for free).
Do Unto Others
Before getting angry, try to remember that the person you’re talking to is a wage-earner, just like you, and wants to be treated the same way you’d like to be treated. Workplace columnist Gregory Lay says he understands that customer service reps have a list of things they can’t do if they want to keep their job, and it helps Lay maintain his calm by acknowledging their situation: “I know this isn’t your fault — you’re just doing your job,” he’ll say. “I’m frustrated because ... Is there anything you can do to help me?”
Get Personal, Kind Of
If a rep isn’t giving you what they want, suggests Edward D. Gagnon of Customer Service Solutions, Inc., ask for the representative’s name, title, identification number, location and other such information so you can include it in a communication to a high level executive. This can put them in a position they don’t want it to escalate and be attributed to them, Gagnon says.
Facebook and Twitter are a few of the ways to voice your complaint publicly and get immediate answers. Asking questions on a company’s Facebook page will often result in excellent service because no company wants to look bad publicly, says Brett Brohl, president of hospital scrubs seller Scrubadoo.com.
You can also go to the company’s website and see if they have a live chat feature for customer service, suggests social media strategist Alex Levine. It’s harder to fly off the handle when you have to type your words, Levine says.