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15th June
written by LS Girl

It happens to all of us.  Something goes wrong, and we need to call the customer service department.  Not all callers are created equal.  Learn how to call customer service and get what you want.

My first full time job was as a customer service representative for the company who is now Verizon. As a profitable corporation in a very competitive market, they provided employees with on-going hardcore training;  I was lucky enough to learn from some of the best trainers in the country.

Phone etiquette

How to guide your caller towards resolution

Dealing with emotional people: anger/fear/outrage/threats

The “finer details” which make up a good customer service experience were methodically drilled in to my head and they left me wanting more, that’s how good the trainers were.  I use the skills I learned during my eleven years with this company, almost every day.  (the other days I’m just crabby, mean and disagreeable)

Casual chit-chat often includes complaints about customer service.  It just comes up in conversation, doesn’t it?

“I called, and the lady was clueless.”  “They didn’t do anything to help me”.  “I was on hold for a long time”

Some of the issues mentioned above are not a direct result of the person on the other end of the phone, but clueless is never a good thing, and it does happen.  Being on hold for a long time is usually poor management, and/or a bad business decision on someone’s part.  But, a lot of the time, the complaints I hear are “mutual”.

The fact is, you are part of the reason you’re not getting results. 

Here are some tips for getting a better outcome from your customer service experiences:

Tip #1:  How to call customer service

Be prepared.  REALLY have your account number ready.  Have your invoice available.  Have your credit card in hand.  You are expecting someone to help you, so help yourself by being prepared.  You’re not a charity case, you’re an adult.  Yes, someone else made a mistake, but it doesn’t benefit anyone if you retaliate with ignorance or selective amnesia.

Tip #2:  Take a stand

Be vigilant, and stand up for yourself with your finger.  If you call the 800#, and the person answering sounds like they just woke up, you can’t understand their words, or they sound completely aloof:

Hang up.  That’s right.  Vote NO with your finger.  Hang up the phone and call back.  Do this, until you get an agent who sounds clear, awake and alert.  You will save time in the long run.  It’s no different than getting out of line in the grocery store, and moving to a faster moving line.

Tip #3:  Get to the point

Think about the reason for your call, and know what you want to happen before speaking with someone.  This is important.  Here is an example:

You were overcharged on your cell phone bill.  If you think this through prior to picking up the phone, you will most likely decide the reason for your call is:  You were overcharged.  And, the result you’re looking for is a credit.   Instead of telling the agent about your longevity as a customer, and how you just knew something would go wrong when you upgraded your plan, simply say:  “I was overcharged on my bill, and I’d like to know how I go about getting a credit.”  Simple.  Just like that.  Save the drama for your momma.   The more drama YOU put out, the more drama you’ll get back.  It’s human nature.

Tip #4: Speak their language

Keep the likely measures of success in mind when calling.  Most customer service representatives are measured on the number of calls they take, the ratings on those surveys you’re asked to complete, and the number of times you have to call for the same problem.  Knowing this, you can speak your agent’s language:  quick, to the point, find a solution, done.  Also, it’s better to call during a typical shift, and not at the very beginning or end because you may get someone trying to get out the door, or settling in and not receive their full attention.  If they are open 24 hours, keep this in mind when calling.  If their hours are published, it’s easier to pinpoint a good time to call.

Mistakes are made.  People are poorly trained or not cut out for the job.  This is all true. Try the tips above, and you will at least know that you did your part to encourage the best outcome.

Here is a link to navigate common 800 number directories, and additional helpful advice on this topic.


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