We've all had situations where we've needed to call the customer service number for a product or service where either something's gone wrong, or we're dissatisfied with what's happening. It's normal for that to happen considering the amount of goods and services we consume in a year. Some products are bound to be duds sometimes. What's not normal or acceptable is to have to fight uncooperative call centre monkeys, who have no notion of service and no interest in helping you.
To help ease the pain of this process, here are a few tips to expedite the process and get to a resolution to your problem as quickly as possible.
- Always document your interactions: Even if you're sure you'll remember, write down the name of the person you spoke to, the time/date at which you spoke, and the status of the issue when you hung up. It'll quite likely help you resolve your dispute quicker.
- Keep the phone number handy: The first time you use a new service, add their customer service phone number to your address book. If they "streamline" their website and remove all trace of their customer service number, you'll still have a copy of it. Doubly good if you sync your address book with your phone.
- Letters still work: Sometimes, nothing will get the message across better than a firm, well-written, snail mail letter to customer relations. Clearly state the context in which the problem occurred, give detailed accounts of communications to date and end with a statement of what resolution you expect. The clearer your letter, the more likely they'll answer it promptly.
- Send your letters by registered mail: Don't allow them to pretend the letter was never received by ensuring it's signed at the other end.
- Send a copy of your letter to Public Relations: Whether by email or post, copy the Public Relations department. They have to deal with public flare-ups all the time, and if yours looks like it might cause them hassle, they'll try to nip it in the bud and might even beat Customer Services by responding first.
- Most importantly, be patient, polite and have a sense of humour: You're talking to someone who's most likely doing an 8 hour shift in a bleak, crowded pigpen of a call centre. If you shout at them or act aggressively, they'll tune you out and maybe even mislead you to get you off the phone. Being nice pays off in situations like this one.
- Bonus tip - Do not swear: Ever. Even if you're the sweetest, nicest office manager around, don't say "f*cking weather today, eh?" followed by a couple more expletives, because they will respond with "I'm sorry mam, but you used foul language three times, I'll now have to end this call. Good evening mam."