Almost every business provides customer service. Whether it’s a dedicated service team or just the owner wearing his/her service hat. But as a customer, your goal when talking to customer service is usually the same – to resolve your issue or get what you need rapidly and effectively.
In most cases, you’re dealing with customer service because something is wrong, which may have left you angry, annoyed, or in need to vent. However, it’s important to remember that the person you’re talking to had likely nothing to do with your problem and just wants to help you resolve it.
It can be very frustrating to communicate with a company’s customer service without getting the needed solution.
However, there are a few methods that you, as a client, can employ to gain great customer service. This article will highlight some rules of thumb you can utilize in your quest to get better customer service.
1. Research Your Problem
Before you reach out to customer service, it is usually worthwhile to research your issue online and see whether anybody else was having a similar problem or whether anybody else has interacted with the company on this type of problem before.
Some companies (including Amazon, Walmart, eBay, SHEIN and others) provide customers with extensive help and FAQ sections, with solutions to most of the issues customers might face.
Researching can provide you with several benefits:
- If somebody has had the issue and solved it, or other people made suggestions, you’ll be able to save yourself time by trying those suggestions and potentially solve your issue without needing customer service at all.
- You will arm yourself with information on whether this is a widespread issue, and what type of information will be needed from you by the customer service representative.
2. Be Prepared
Take some time before calling customer service to write down precisely what you need from them, whether it’s multiple points of information, a fix for a specific problem.
If you have multiple customer service issues, you want to make sure that you remember to follow up on all points and don’t need to call back.
You’ll also want to have the information that customer service may ask you, such as your account number, security pin or password.
You’ll also want a clear bullet point list of what you’ve done so far and what the specific issue is, in order to explain the problem clearly and get a clear response back from the customer service agent.
Not having all the required information or a clear understanding of the problem might result in a wasted call or interaction, in case you need to go away and gather additional information.
3. Be as clear and detailed as possible on what you need
No, I do not mean wordy explanations but avoid leaving out important facts that may help the customer care agent to understand the problem you need solving. If you are clear on what you need, it will be easier for you to get the services that you seek. You can also try grouping your messages to reduce confusion.
Be extremely clear in what your problem is and what you want your resolution to be. Do not include extra information that has no impact on getting your problem resolved.
Many people will be unprepared for a call or interaction and will provide too much information, which can be confusing and miss out on key details of the actual problem. If the information you’re providing does not help explain the specific situation or what you want for the resolution, it’s not needed unless customer service requests it.
4. Be empathic, Exercise Patience and use the golden rule technique
Always try to be empathic and to connect with the person you are dealing with. You can tell them that you understand how their job is demanding, at times frustrating, and you hate to add to their list of problems, but you need the problem solved. A little flattery also goes a long way.
Human is to err, so is a company. It is prudent to take your time first, explain the source of your problem, and allow the employee a chance to try and fix it for you. Being calm is also a great trait of being a good customer.
The golden rule technique dictates that you treat others as you wish them to treat you. Being courteous, respectful, and polite when making your complaints to the employee can improve the service you receive.
5. Comply with the store’s policies
A business can easily accommodate a customer who abides by its rules. For example, if you need to return an item, you should do so within the return period and with the correct documentation.
6. Escalate your problem
Customer service is there to help you, but they’re also there to protect the business and follow rules set out by their company. Often this can mean initially denying requests.
On other cases you may find that a customer service agent just fails to understand your problem or doesn’t feel like it’s a problem for them to resolve.
Don’t always take no for an answer. If customer service refuses to help, takes too long to help, or you’re just not getting what you want, and you feel it’s a reasonable request, you should be asking to escalate the problem to a manager or senior customer service agent.
It’s also possible that first-tier customer service representative simply doesn’t have the authority to do what you want, so an escalation can be the fastest way to get things resolved by dealing with somebody that can actually help with your issue.
7. Record your interactions
It’s important to record everything so that you can follow up later if needed and confirm exactly what was promised or explained would happen. It’s great if the customer service agent agrees to fix something, refund, or follow up later. However, there can be miscommunication issues or problems behind the scenes that end up with you still having the problem and no record that it was supposed to be resolved.
If possible and allowed in your area, you can record the call or conversation so that you have a record of what was agreed to, as you may not always get the same customer service agent if you need to call back another day.
You’ll also find that if you inform somebody they are being recorded for this issue, you will get more truthful and accurate information as it’s harder for people to go back on their word or say that something specific wasn’t promised.
At the end of your customer service interaction, go over each of the points you wanted resolved and get verbal or written confirmation in summary; this helps to ensure a quick way to get confirmation and easy playback later.
8. Get follow up details
Any interaction you have with customer service should result in either your problem being resolved immediately or action needs to be taken by the company. For example, ensure you get a ticket number, estimated dates in which things should be resolved, or any other information required to follow up later if nobody contacts you or your problem stays unresolved.
A ticket number will allow you to contact customer service again and not have to go through the whole process a second time, as it should all be laid out in the ticket for easy access by the new customer service agent.
It also allows you to set reminders in your phone’s calendar to ensure your issue doesn’t get forgotten.
9. Don’t Back Down
In some cases, you may be wrong; a service or feature may not be possible for you or your account type, and that’s the end of the interaction. However, if you believe that a company is failing to provide what has been promised or should have been delivered, then you don’t need to back down and can continue to escalate or discuss the issue with customer service.
If you’re getting nowhere with the current agent, try escalating your issue. If that escalation doesn’t help or doesn’t happen, use other channels to contact customer service – call, email, use the online chat, social media and even customer review sites to get the support you are looking for.
Different agents might will be willing to provide different levels of help or have different authorization levels.
When interacting with customer service, remember your goal and stick to that. In most cases, you have a problem, and you want a resolution; this requires you to stay clear in both the problem and what you will accept for a resolution.
You don’t have to accept what customer service responds with, and often you need to push or escalate to get what you need.
Keep your interactions clear of emotions as anger or frustration. Be empathic, Exercise Patience and don’t forget to use the golden rule technique.