Recall the last time you had a problem with a product or service. What was your frame of mind? Did you want to stomp into that store (or pick up the phone) and chew someone’s butt? Not surprisingly, most people feel that way.
If choose to follow through on your rant, you may find that the reaction from the customer service person isn’t quite what you expected. You see, customer service people are humans, too, and can only take so much. They should be resilient, but even the best training doesn’t steel them for the worst barrage.
I’ve been there a number of times. In fact, I wrote about an incident I had many years ago. As I relate, I was ready to tear into the first teller I faced when I walked into the bank branch. Thankfully, I had calmed down by the time I entered the branch.
Having spent much of my adult life in customer service-type positions (including sales), I can attest to the range of emotions possible. But because I’ve been on the other side, I am now more understanding and patient. (Though I have my limits.)
At some point you will reach someone who can address your issue. It may take time: You might have to go through two or three departments to do so. Each, of course, wants to hear your story again. That’s so the person fully understands the situation.
Keep these suggestions in mind the next time you need to contact a customer service department:
1. Project a neutral or, if possible, positive demeanor. It starts with your opening comment.
After the “Hello,” say something like,
“I have a question about my bill.”
“I wonder if you can help me with an issue.”
“I wonder if you can explain something”
“I’d like some help with (bill, broken item, etc.)”
“Can you help me?”
Note that you’re not barking at the person. The customer service person picks up on that. Expect a calm, friendly tone in return.
2. Stifle the urge to unload your animosity. Even though you may have gone through several people to get to this one, remain as calm as possible. When the time is right, feel free to mention your frustration at the number of people you had to go through, the annoying “phone tree” system, or whatever else you’d like to get off your chest. But do so in a tactful, mature manner.
3. Calmly answer any questions, and follow any directions. As stated above, you may be asked to restate your circumstances. I always want to hear this, so I know I am getting the full story. Some details can get lost as the case goes through the various individuals.
4. Be patient. Some issues require time to resolve. If you aren’t told, ask for a time frame. Get the person’s name, and feel free to call back if you haven’t heard within the stated time. Be gentle, though. Give the person the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps some additional digging is needed. “I was just wondering if you had an update on my issue” is a good way to open that conversation.
5. If afterward you still feel the matter isn’t resolved properly, ask to speak with a supervisor.
6. (Extra credit.) Want to make a customer service person’s day? Say these magic words: “Thank you.” You can’t imagine how good that feels. (Believe me, I know.)
There’s the old saying, “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” Treat customer service reps with respect, and you’re likely to get an even better response.
Do you have some customer service experiences to share? Could be either as the customer or the customer service person. Feel free to leave a comment. If you found value in this post, please share it so others may benefit from what you and I have written. You may use any of the buttons below. To contact me, send an email.
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