If youve already read Part 1 of Battling with Customer Service: How to Win the War, congratulations! Youre halfway to becoming a pro. Follow these last five steps and youll be on track to bending the minds of customer service representatives everywhere. Without further ado
6. Dont drink and dial.
It seems like a good idea at first; the mind says no, but the six-pack says yes. Youve had a great relationship for years. Why throw it all away over a silly dispute? You decide to pick up that phone, one last time, and see if they realize what theyre missing. Has this logic ever worked? Heres a hint: no. Calling customer service in an obviously altered state of mind will cause your pleas to fall on deaf, yet slightly amused, ears. If you want customer service to take a complaint or concern seriously, save the six-pack for when you call your ex.
7. Call during off-hours.
Yes, hold music is corporate Americas version of water torture. To keep your sanity intact, try calling during off-hours. What are off-hours, you ask? If Company X has 24×7 customer service, try calling after 10pm. If not, try calling Tuesday-Thursday between 10am-8pm or any time on Sunday.
8. Dont call a special number.
The blog of a spurned employee, a news station, or a radio show might give you some kind of secret and internal number to Company X. They may claim it will eliminate hold time. Oftentimes, these special numbers are specifically for field technicians or an obscure department that cannot handle the concern. Call the main customer service number and pick the correct department. The towering inferno that is the Voice Response Unit may mistake your spoken request to pay a bill in Iowa for cancelling all services immediately in Connecticut, but simply stating agent to the VRU may get you to a real, live person. If agent does not work, try similar terms such as operator, representative, customer service, parasite from the nether world, or spawn of Satan.
9. Escalate, but only if necessary.
If theres no light at the end of a bleak tunnel, ask for a supervisor; however, do not immediately ask for management if you were mishandled on a previous call. Customer service representatives undergo weeks of training and, oftentimes, are more familiar with current customer issues than their supervisors. Supervisors are there to ensure that customer service representatives are doing their jobs; it is the job of the customer service representative to handle your call and concern.
10. Carefully consider contacting outside regulatory authorities.
If absolutely necessary, contact the Federal Communications Commission, established in 1934 to regulate communications by wire, cable, satellite, radio, and television. Complaints to the FCC are taken seriously and will be handled at Company X by a department well trained on their rules and regulations. Due to the escalated nature of this department, they may have higher hold times and more restricted hours of operation than regular customer service. If youve been completely, hideously, utterly, and unforgivably wronged, feel free to call a regulatory organization. If youd like to voice a complaint, but do not need any further action taken regarding your concern, call or e-mail the company itself.
If you follow these ten tips, the balance may swing in your favor. May the customer service workforce be with you.
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