When something goes wrong or breaks down, not many of us relish the prospect of calling the company’s customer service helpline for assistance.
Customer support experience satisfaction levels are often perceived to be low and when you get a good experience out of your call, it is sometimes considered a bit of a surprise that you managed to get something sorted so quickly.
Not all customer service interaction is bad of course, it’s just that we only tend to hear about the bad ones.
You will always find companies offering plenty of useful help and guidance on their websites, such as suddenLink.com for example, but there are also some excellent strategies you can employ to ensure that you almost always get the most out of your customer support experience.
Put yourself in the mindset of the call-handler you have just made contact with on the phone, would you be looking forward to taking a call from an angry or frustrated customer?
Communication and cooperation is a two-way street and whilst the customer is king attitude means that you the caller are perceived to be the priority, there are distinct advantages to opening up a friendly dialogue with your customer service representative.
Ask for their name when you start the call. Not only does this put the conversation on a more personal footing and enhance your chance of getting some helpful assistance from the call-handler, it also means that they can’t really put you on hold or hang up with impunity.
A simple name-exchange can help on several different levels and will either ensure you get a better level of service or a chance to escalate your complaint if you don’t get the help you think you deserve.
Being told to remain calm often has the opposite effect on a number of us but it really does pay to try and keep your cool, no matter how badly you feel you have been treated.
As a customer you have the ultimate sanction for poor service of being able to take your business elsewhere when your contract ends or a product needs replacing, so try to remain calm in the first instance and at least give them the chance to resolve your issue whilst you are still on good terms with each other.
Research your issue before calling
There are many solutions to particular service and product issues available online these days and it therefore often pays to do a bit of research using the internet before you attempt to call a human being on customer services.
With a bit of research using some relevant searches on Google for example, you can often find a forum that is talking about exactly the same complain you have and how they went about fixing the problem.
You might find the solution you are looking for online that way but if you don’t, you at least have some more useful information on what to ask for and what you believe is the issue, which you can relay to the operator when you call the helpline.
Persistence pays off
Some call centers have rehearsed answers that they use as a first line of defense against someone calling for compensation or a replacement product.
You will probably encounter an apparent lack of willingness to resolve your problem if you call enough helplines and when you are told that there is little they can do to resolve your complaint in terms of compensation or a goodwill gesture, don’t take the first no as a definitive rejection of your claim.
Persistence often pays off and if you feel that you have a genuine grievance, tell them that you are not prepared to go away or let the matter drop that easily.
A fair number of operators have a written protocol and a script to follow, so if you can clear the first line of resistance and feel that you should get something in return for your troubles, stay on the line and ask to speak to a line manager about your complaint if the initial operator is unable to assist any further.
Finally, remember that when you remain polite and express gratitude for their assistance, you will stand a better chance of standing out amongst a sea of groaning and complaining customers that fill their day, and it should improve your odds of getting a satisfactory resolution to your complaint.
Knowing how to approach that call in the first place, should help you to get the most out of your customer service experience.
Ella Burnett works in facilitating transitional services and understands why customer service is so important to people. She likes to share her ideas with others online and frequently writes for a variety of relevant websites.