It seems that everyone, except the customer service providers themselves, knows that customer service is terrible these days. Cable companies, telecom monopolies and consumer electronic companies have the worst customer service but the problem exists for the majority of consumer-facing businesses.
So what can you do about bad customer service? For starters, don’t take no for an answer!
I have earned a reputation amongst those who know me for my ability to get what I want and my strategy is simple: if you have been legitimately wronged or have received terrible customer service, pull out your guns and get ready to do battle. Here is a quick breakdown of my top secret “process”:
- Determine whether or not the fight is worth it. You will certainly cost yourself some time so make sure you are fighting for something more than $5. Fighting on principle may be acceptable.
- Determine your “leverage” or the amount you were “harmed”. The more arguments you have the better your chances of getting what you want. Only one legitimate argument should be necessary to win.
- Consider the amount you stand to gain and convert it to an hourly wage for motivation. Yes, it sucks to fight with agents on the phone for an hour, but if it nets you $100, then it was a very good use of your time ($100/hr “wage”)
- My personal best is 8 month’s of free internet because they missed several setup appointments over 2 weeks (It took over an hour to get what I requested but it saved my student household approx. $800)
- Explain your situation to the agent in a clear and concise manner, outlining your arguments. Wait for them to offer you something and if they do not, make a specific request (1 month free, a refund etc.) Prepare for a “no”.
- If you get a “no”, quickly reiterate your arguments and stand your ground.
- If you still get a no, immediately request to speak to a manager. No need to waste much time with a useless rep.
- If they say “sure, but the manager will tell you the same thing”, ignore the rep and request to speak to the manager.
- Repeat your arguments to the manager. This is where things get intense. Do not take no for an answer and sternly request retribution/reimbursement etc.
- Still getting a no? Grow a pair and dig-in! Now’s not the time to let up.
- Remember, there is always someone that can help you, even if the rep and manager say that they can’t. Ask to speak with someone who can help you if the manager won’t. Many companies have separate teams to deal with persistent customers. Reaching them is your end goal if the manager is useless.
- Stress that they are wasting your time as well as their own and costing the company money by spending so much time with you on the phone. Threaten to cancel your services, if necessary. Use social media as leverage (last resort).
- Get what you want!
Going through this process takes practice but one thing is for sure, you will certainly show weakness if you are not dedicated to getting what you want. If you’re not truly upset, do not follow this process and live with the situation. If you are truly upset, use it! I have a near perfect record in dealing with customer service departments simply because I am persistent, offer coherent arguments, express real pain and ask for specific solutions.
Companies on the customer service shit-list:
- GoodLife Fitness – see GoodLife Fitness Sucks
- Warrior Dash (Red Frog Events)
- Microsoft Store
- Bell, historically. Though they have improved greatly
The bottom line is, bad customer service has unfortunately become the norm, forcing you to fight for what they deserve. Whatever you do, don’t take no for an answer.