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How To Get A Great Result From Contacting Customer Services

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As Institute of Customer Service accredited member and advocate, past Customer Service Rep, and currently a designer of customer service tools and solutions, I have some insider tricks to help make consumer customer service a positive experience.

Getting To Solutions Faster

  • Provide a potted history, facts, impacts to you, costs in money/frustration/upset, and estimate wasted time. Be clear on what your expectations were and the reasons for them. Similarly, if things are especially complicated and multiple departments are likely to be involved, ask the service rep to make clear notes on the case record and get them to read them back to you to make sure they’re right
  • Be clear you’re determined to get this sorted out. Do not threaten but try to make it clear that you will not go quietly, and you’ll make sure you share the experience. I even half-jokingly say “here is a challenge for you to prove how good your companies customer service can be”.
  • Log all your efforts (problems, calls etc), a factual record with peoples names, places, dates/times is very useful and powerful. Don’t make it up either, lies are easy to detect in your voice and once you loose credibility you might as well give up.
  • Find and use real examples of similar issues and explain how they have what you want or expect. Think about experiences of relations, friends, or even from news stories. Make the similarities clear. Ideally find ones that involve competitors and subtlety state it as a challenge and opportunity to compete.
  • Establish a personal relationship with the service rep, get them personally involved so they care and go the extra mile. Ask their personal advice – what would they do – and ask them if the understand your expectations and empathize. Get the benefit of their experience. If you keep them onside they’re more likely to make an extra effort.
  • If you’re getting nowhere, use escalation requests (ask to speak with a manager) but be clear why and what you hope it will do, such as answer why something cannot be done or speed thing up.
  • Use social media as well, post on their and your Facebook pages and direct message their twitter account. These are so sensitive areas that they’re often staffed with the best people who have more power to sort things out quickly. Sometimes they’ll only be marketing wonks and just palm you off to customer services dept. Do what they suggest (if you haven’t already), but if solution still remains elusive go back to the same social media accounts to follow up and give case numbers etc. Be persistent and consider extend to writing blog posts on the problem and sharing these as well. Start gradually however often the more noise you make the more attention you’ll get.

Getting Some Compensation

  • Be fairly clear on what you want to make you happy again, although it’s not always sensible to be too abrupt and say “I want some free vouchers as compensation”. Just make it clear that your experience has put you off using the company again, how competitor seem more attractive, and they need to remedy the ill feeling and do something to restore your faith in using them again.
  • And be realistic, don’t push beyond what seems fair compensation based on the extent of the experience. Consider alternatives to refunds or money, such as supporting services and peripheral products.

One last word, help make customer service reps job easy, put yourself in their shoes and try encourage some collaboration together to make things as easy as possible for everyone. Help Them To Help Yourself.

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