Dealing with Customer Service

Something will eventually go wrong when you’re shopping. Whether it’s in person or online, you, as the customer, deserve the best possible service the company can offer. All too often, though, people stand in their own way of getting the best service. Finding videos of customers berating staff for little or no reason isn’t hard. Whether it’s in-store, via text chat, or on the phone, there are a few simple rules to follow if you want to get the most out of dealing with customer service.

  1. The customer isn’t always right. There are limits to what you can expect as a customer. Stores have policies that, when you make a purchase, you agree to follow. Solid return price matching policies are all valid and frankly not worth arguing over. The company’s lawyers helped draft the policy, they most likely have had to argue them in court.
  2. Calm heads prevail. Yes, you’re dealing with a representative of a company you’re upset with. Yes, there is something they can do about it. But they are a human—a person just like you. You’re not mad at them; they didn’t wrong you. Stay calm and treat them with respect—you’ll be shocked how much further it gets you. Some employees do have the ability to override stated policy, but that doesn’t mean they have to. Being calm and respectful is your best bet to finding a resolution that makes you happy.
  3. Know what you want. Before you go into the store or click the chat button, know what the issue is and how you’d like it resolved. If there is a legitimate wrong, you shouldn’t feel bad asking for it to be fixed. Don’t always lead with your demand, though. Say you want the problem made right and give them the chance to give you a good customer experience.
  4. Document everything. If you’re in a store face to face, record the conversation on your phone. If you’re on the phone, use a call recorder; if you’re chatting through a text box, take screenshots of important parts. Don’t delete emails, take photos of any faults with the product. If there was an issue with a delivery, save the shipping number. Any possible video of a delivery gone wrong will also help you. Keep a list of case numbers, names, and locations. Put any associated bills into a file. Basically, if it in any way is related to your issue, keep it.
  5. Escalate strategically. Walking in the store and demanding the manager right off the bat isn’t always going to play in your favor. And in today’s world, it very well could result in you becoming a viral video. Exhaust all options with the person you’re talking to first.
  6. Take to social media. Companies might not expect their communications with you to become public. If they go viral, it’s usually because the customer snapped. A tweet, Facebook post, or Instagram post might get them to react.
  7. Contact centers are often offshore. Call centers—now contact centers because they handle phone, text, and chat—are often offshore. Avoid colloquialisms that may be difficult to understand across language and culture barriers. Make direct statements and speak as clearly as possible. If you’re struggling to understand them, they are struggling to help you. Be patient and remember rule number two.
  8. Write a letter. A quick search will show you the top staff of a company. A few more clicks and you can find emails and physical addresses. Reaching out to them isn’t the worst idea as a last resort. But again, be respectful and courteous. And don’t be shocked if you don’t hear anything from them, especially if there is a major company-wide issue going on.
  9. Quit while you’re ahead. All too often people get caught up on their goals and don’t realize when they’ve lost. Your time is valuable; arguing over a five-dollar difference isn’t worth hours of your time. Spending your time just to prove you’re right over a trivial issue isn’t worth it. You’re the only one that will ever know.

In the end, the main thing to remember when dealing with customer service is that everyone is human. Humans make mistakes. Humans deserve to be treated with respect.

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