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JUST ABOUT EVERYONE has to interact with
customer service representatives on the phone. Some
businesses offer an ongoing pleasant service experience, consistently responding to questions, concerns
and issues in a timely and helpful manner. Their representatives have a pleasant demeanor, and communicating is not a hassle.
Other businesses seem to be out of
touch with providing quality customer service. Their representatives
seem rude, pushy, impatient or as if
they are not really listening. So how
do you navigate a challenging customer service interaction successfully? Here are some general tips.
Stick to facts. Before you call,
make a list of bullet-pointed facts
that act as a script. Be succinct.
Address what happened, why and
how. Timeline the events of your
circumstances and explain them in
a clear and concise manner.
Take notes. Write down a
representative’s company identification information and name, plus the
date and time of your interaction. Let
the representative know you are documenting him or her and keeping a
record of the person’s service. That way, if you have
a negative experience, or if you feel the representative is violating company standards and protocol,
you can report the person to a supervisor or corporate officer.
Inquire about a survey. Ask to be provided
with a survey you can take in regard to your call
experience if the business offers it, and include your
phone number or email for follow-up if you want
the business to contact you about your feedback.
When customer service
If you record
your call Be poised under all circumstances. Do not be adversarial. Do not lose your cool. Do not get
angry. Escalating a situation with screaming and
yelling wastes energy and won’t get you to a quick
solution. This does not mean you have to be a push-
over. You can stand your ground and still be calm
and respectful. Be polite and businesslike, and do
not get emotional.
Provide a solution. Rather than wait to be
offered a solution, present what you see as fair and
reasonable. Is it a replacement part, replacement
product, return or exchange without charge? Is it a
refund? Is it providing feedback directly to a member of a corporate team? Is it ending the relationship
and forgoing a cancellation charge?
The company may not be able or willing to provide what you ask for. In that case, try to come up
with a mutually agreeable solution if you can.
Take it to the top. Depending on the size of
the business, there are generally tiers of
customer service, and issues get escalated through those tiers. If you’re
hitting a dead end with a customer
service representative, speak with a
manager or supervisor. If you have
no luck with a manager or supervisor, you may contact the corporate
customer service or escalations team.
Contact information is available on
many business websites or with a simple
Be persistent. If you do not get the
answer you want on the first try, keep trying. Sometimes you just have to approach
an issue numerous times with different
individuals to solve it.
To be fair, we realize that customer service is not a one-way street. On the other side
of the coin, representatives have the challenge of interacting with customers whom
they find rude, difficult or dishonest.
At the end of the day, if you do not like the way
a business handles its customer service, you have
choices. Do not be a victim. Empower yourself and
take your business elsewhere. C
MANY BUSINESSES record
inbound customer service
calls from consumers. It is
now becoming more common for consumers to record
their own calls and take
them public on social media
in order to get a resolution
of an unresolved issue.
Although the FCC
Commission) currently has
no rules regarding individuals recording telephone conversations, state laws may
Before you record
any type of call, find out
whether it is legal in your
state by contacting your
state public service commission. This commission
should be able to tell you
whether recording is legal
and how it is regulated. You
may find contact information for your state public
service commission at
For information on telecommunications issues, visit
the FCC’s website, www.
fcc.gov, or contact the FCC’s
consumer center by calling