As consumers we expect things to go right the first time but we also anticipate things not being as they seem. When we purchase a product or a service and things do not turn out as we hoped, we have to face the customer service department. In some cases, this experience isn’t so bad but more and more consumer complaints are being filed against companies which do not put a focus on quality, reliable customer service.
It can be highly frustrating to feel like you are taking to a brick wall when it comes to contacting company representatives. It can be downright aggravating when you still don’t get the results you hoped for from a company you used to like. Here are some tips for dealing with poor customer service as well as how to move forward with more success:
Be Courteous If Expecting Courtesy
If you expect a company representative to treat you well, you must offer the same courtesy. When making a first contact, wait until you have calmed down if you are particularly riled up. Be concise in your explanation of the problem and treat the person on the other end of the conversation with respect. Even if the customer representative gets out of control, do what you can to maintain your composure. As the saying goes ‘you get more flies with honey than vinegar’.
If things start to go downhill fast and you don’t foresee a positive outcome, start taking detailed notes including the time of your call, the name of the person you are speaking to, and details of the representative’s responses. These notes will help you recall details at a later time if you have to pursue further action.
If you find things with the customer service representative is not going in a positive way, ask to speak with a supervisor immediately. If the representative is unwilling to transfer your call or becomes hostile, just hang up the phone and place another call. Since many companies have call centers, you likely will not get the same person again. Ask immediately to speak to a manager or supervisor and then detail your initial issue as well as the problem you had with the company representative in the previous phone call.
Write a Professional Letter
There are many stories of consumers who were so unhappy with a product or service they took it all the way to the top by writing a letter to the attention of the company president or owner. In many cases, the upper management had no idea how bad things were in the way of customer service and appropriate action was taken. While there is no guarantee your letter will be read, be sure it is professional-looking and details the specific situation rather than filled with foul-mouthed, choice words. The Internet will often provide you with a direct contact address for the higher-ups at a company.
Don’t dismiss the importance of quality customer service when looking into a new product or service. When comparison shopping, take the time to place a phone call into the company and ask a few questions. You can use your gut instincts to judge which company would be helpful in a problematic situation and which company is poorly represented by their customer assistance staff. You want to make sure the companies where you take your business will be ready and willing to take you seriously when you need help.