One of the most frustrating things can be calling a company for customer or technical support and getting unsatisfactory service. I’ve had this happen and I’m sure most of us can tell horror stories from our past. I also have a slightly more unique experience with this topic and that is working on the other end of the phone. While in college one of the jobs I had was customer support and then tech support for one of the top three cell phone companies.
There are many things that can frustrate us when we are calling for help. Long hold times, endless chains of auto directing your call, customer service people that aren’t as knowledgeable as we’d like them to be, outsourcing to countries that can perform cheaper customer service but introduce a language and cultural barrier in resolving your issue.
I’ve shared these tips with my friends and family in the past and gotten various feedback and complaints about the support provided to them. I will try to give you some tips to make this process easier and less painful for you.
Remember, almost everybody on the other end of the phone wants to help you, and get your problem resolved in a satisfactory manner as quickly as they can. They are usually rated on overall call time average. They don’t want to argue with you or be unhelpful for 20 minutes. They have policies and procedures they are trained to use.
One complaint I hear a lot from my tech savvy friends is that they already know the problem and the stupid guy at the call center is treating them like they know nothing. Unfortunately that’s the nature of the beast. If Bill Gates would call about computer help, they would treat him like you or me. The service person is trained and required to follow a trouble shooting script. For every person out there who knows exactly what is wrong there are many more that incorrectly identify the problem. Try to be patient with them as they go through the trouble shooting.
Have all your materials ready to go when you call and have the time to make the call and resolve it the first time. Customer service centers want to get your call, resolve your problem, and not have you call back for the same issue. As busy as your schedule is calling while you are in the fast food drive through waiting for your food after the soccer game is not a good time to be calling tech support. That sounds like a joke, but honestly back then I’ve had that type of call a few times a week and sometimes even worse.
Make sure you have all your billing statements and service plan information if it’s a payment or incorrect charge issue. If it’s a technical issue, have the electronic item there with you. It’s pretty hard to trouble shoot when it’s at home on your dresser and you are at work. If it happens to be your cell phone that you are having a problem with, call from your home phone.
Be calm. Try to remember that no matter what happened it was not the customer service persons fault. If your bill is wrong, yelling at the billing person that is there to help you isn’t going to help your issue be managed. Many times just calmly explaining the problem or discrepancy will help you quickly get your problem resolved.
Demanding to talk to a supervisor immediately isn’t what I would suggest. Try to work with the rep that you get, and if you hit a brick wall, then that’s when you should escalate the call to talk to a supervisor. They usually have more powers and abilities to resolve your problems. Many times the representative you talk to is just not able to do what you ask and need a supervisor to approve whatever action is needed. And speaking of supervisors, if you get really great help, and you think about it, ask to speak to a supervisor so that you can complement the representative that helped you. Recognizing great help helps promote better customer service. If Bob Helpguy Jr gets 20 glowing commendations from customers a month, likely he will be asked to show new people the way he does it. It only takes a minute.
Keep track of who you talk to and when and about what. Take notes. If you do get into a situation where you have to make multiple calls, having your own records make the process of getting you help so much easier. Most companies that I am familiar with immediately tag your call to a rep and they will take notes on each call. But it will work out better for you if you can say “On May 4th I talked to Steve and he said this, and on a follow-up call May 6th Mary told me this other information as well.”
Those are just a few suggestions to help make sure you get the customer and tech support that you deserve as the paying customer. As much as it doesn’t feel like it all the time, that voice on the other end is a person too and they really do want to help. Like most of my advice, being knowledgeable about your product or service and what you are paying for is highly recommended. Ask questions of the salespeople, the customer and tech support reps. Read the companies website, look at different plans and products, there is a ton of information out there. Many sites have email and live chat help. If you are comfortable with this it may be a better option for you.