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How to get better customer service

Talking to customer service can often be a rather frustrating experience for consumers. Some companies are more customer-friendly and try to go out of their way to deliver outstanding service. However, others don’t seem to care much about pleasing their clients when it comes to customer support. If your best attempts to solve a problem on your own turn out to be unsuccessful, calling customer service is inevitable. Follow the tips below to make your experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Step 1. How to get better customer service – Preparation

  • Research the issue and see if you can find more information about your problem. Plus, what can possibly be done to resolve it.
  • If you hate calling, visit a company’s website and try their self-service options; such as FAQ page, help manuals, video tutorials, or live chat support.
  • Spare enough time to navigate through the phone tree options and wait on hold before you can reach a real person.
  • Remember that sometimes you’ll be able to get directly to a customer service representative if you press “0.”
  • Make sure to call in an environment, free from distraction and any noise that can prevent you from hearing a service agent well.
  • Determine exactly what you want to ask, be ready to explain your problem fully, and have it clear in your mind what resolution would be satisfactory for you.
  • Be prepared to provide any necessary details such as information related to your account or transaction, or a ticket number if you’ve called them before.

Step 2. How to speak to customer service representatives

Be polite, patient and speak in a friendly tone

Being generally polite and friendly can actually go a long way with an agent on the other side of the phone who most probably has to deal with frustrated and rude callers most of the time during their working shift. That includes not only some basic things like not yelling or swearing, but also admitting to the person you are talking to that you know they personally didn’t cause your problem. If you become abusive, it’s less likely the agent will be willing to help.

Explain your problem but don’t give them your life story

Laying out your issue is the most important part of the call. Explain it clearly and concisely, include specific details, and don’t make assumptions about what an agent knows or doesn’t know. However, a long story of how you went to that point, and how much frustration the issue has caused you is absolutely unnecessary and won’t help in getting it resolved quickly.

Understand the limits of a customer service employee

Remember that customer service agents are just a company’s representatives, not owners. They have their limits and are not always able to satisfy your requests, sometimes simply because they don’t have the tools or the authority to perform certain actions, even if they want to. In most cases, they have to follow strict rules and adhere to the company’s policy that they are not allowed to change by making an exception for you. And they obviously cannot spend hours dealing exclusively with your problem as they usually must maintain an average handle time.

Escalate the issue to a supervisor if necessary

Before you escalate further, try calling one more time. You might be luckier to reach an agent who is more knowledgeable. If things aren’t going your way and your problem remains unresolved, don’t be afraid to ask for an agent’s supervisor or a manager. There is nothing wrong with doing it, as long as you aren’t rude, aggressive, and keep a friendly attitude. Very often these representatives have the authority to make certain exceptions to the company’s policies unlike first-tier agents. This means they might be much more helpful in resolving complex issues.

Get the details about the service agent

Once you’re done with the call, it doesn’t always mean you’re done with your problem. You might need to follow up some time later. Ask politely for the agent’s name and a ticket number. This information may come in handy in case you’ll have to call again regarding the same issue. The following calls will go more smoothly if you can directly provide a ticket number and the name of the representative you’ve spoken to last time. 

If all else fails, go to social media

If you are still unsuccessful but determined not to give up, you can go public and escalate your issue even further by sharing your frustration on social media. Try either Twitter or Facebook. Most companies today have social media presence and monitor their brand mentions in order to timely respond to customer complaints and maintain their online reputation. Some even have separate Twitter accounts solely dedicated to customer support. When twitting at a company make sure not to swear as some brands have a policy that prevents them from responding to abusive tweets.

Basic etiquette tips to follow when talking to service agents

  • Good manners go a long way. Always start a conversation with a greeting and end it with a goodbye.
  • Speak clearly, slowly, and be sensitive to the tone of your voice. Do not sound overly anxious, aggressive, or pushy.
  • Never use an offensive language no matter how frustrated you are. It will only decrease your chances of getting quality support.
  • Remember that if you are making personal insults, yelling, or making physical threats, agents might be authorized to hang up on a caller. Some companies even blacklist serious offenders.
  • Do not interrupt. Very often customer service reps have specific scripts they must read to you.
  • ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ are the words that can change the entire tone of the conversation – use them often.
  • Don’t forget that customer service agents are people too and their work is stressful more than you might think. Treat them with respect, they deserve it!

Unfortunately, you won’t always have an excellent experience when dealing with customer service representatives, but keeping these simple things in mind should help you get quality customer support most of the time.

If you would like to learn more, check out our article about Customer communication.

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