Getting the best customer service

Most customer service issues are dealt with via a call centre and often reaching a satisfactory outcome to your query or complaint can be a challenge. These tips may help you to resolve your issue.

1. At the start of the call, ask for the name of who you are speaking to and write it down, as well as the time of the call. It may also be worthwhile to ask if the call is being recorded, that way you can refer to it later should you need to.  While most customer service staff will identify themselves, it’s easy to forget who you spoke to at a later date.  Also, use the person’s name where possible as this keeps the call friendly.

2. Don’t lose your temper, which is easier said than done when it seems as though you’re not getting your point across. Many customer service centres will simply advise operators to end the call if they feel you are being abusive, or personal in any way, so try to get your point across calmly and simply.  If you feel that you’re starting to raise your voice, take a deep breath and talk a little more softly, which will make the person on the other end of the phone have to try a little harder to hear you.

3. Don’t ask what they are going to do but, rather, suggest that you’re sure “we can find a satisfactory resolution.” By diluting the adversarial nature of the conversation and suggesting that through teamwork you can both work something out, you are giving the agent much more scope to find a solution.

4. Be clear about what you expect by stating your goal upfront. Be realistic and don’t ask for anything which is simply not within your rights, or which the company is under no obligation to meet. Suggest a timeframe for replacement or solution and ask for agreement.

5. Be forthright without threatening. Don’t take no for an answer and make it clear that you’re not going away until your complaint is resolved. Customer service agents often quote “it’s not our policy”, or “there’s nothing I can do” in the hope you’ll just accept this. But if you don’t hang up, they’ll be forced to keep dealing with you.

6. If you’re simply getting nowhere, ask the agent to escalate your complaint. “Escalate” is call centre jargon and by indicating that you know how the process works, you’re less likely to be fobbed off. Also, agents are ‘penalised’ for every call they have to divert to a supervisor so if you make your intentions clear, they’re more likely to work towards a solution.

7. Mind your manners. Don’t forget to say please and thank you, the agent is human too and is only doing their job. There’s no need to be rude and by demonstrating that you’re a reasonable person to deal with, you’re more likely to receive the assistance that you require.

Written by Debbie McTaggart