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How to get Great Customer Service

Post created 2015-02-17 22:27 by Gabe Koss.

Things rarely go the way that we would like them to in our day to day lives and all too often we find ourselves forced to deal with large organizations to get what we need. I often watch people dealing with reps getting frustrated and angry. This does not help their cause.

I find that I consistently get good to great customer service from a wide variety of organizations and I thought I'd share my approach.

1: Understand that the Company and the Representative are not the same

This can be the hardest thing for people to wrap their heads around. Even though someone may be on the other end of the line when calling about a stressful situation it is imperative that you get the idea out of your head that they are the company.

The fact of the matter is that they are probably underpaid for what they deal with day to day, and spend most of their time dealing with belligerent, frustrated people. If you can suppress your own frustration long enough to be civil and appreciative anyone you interface with will respond better.

Bad:

I'm fed up with this company. I deserve to be treated better and if you want to keep my business you'd better give me what I want.

Good:

Hi! How's your day going? I've been dealing with a frustrating situation. I totally understand that this is not your fault and I am confident that you are going to do everything in your power to help me out. Here's whats going on...

Ultimately you'll get the best response from a rep if you can, without seeming condescending, treat them as if you were the customer service rep and they the customer. Pretty much the Golden Rule in practice. Try it. You'll see.

2: Know what you need

This should go without saying but is often overlooked. When confronting a large organization and trying to figure out how to get what you need you first need to understand what your expectations are for the encounter. If you don't have a clear objective or know what you are trying to get out of the engagement you are almost guaranteed to be frustrated.

This can also be one of the hardest things to get right because often people don't fully understand what they are owed in many situations. Unfortunately this topic is beyond the scope of this article but there are many resources out there which define consumer protection laws and can guide you to understanding what is not only reasonable but, in many cases, your legal right.

When you really don't know what you need the most useful question (after explaining your situation clearly and succinctly) is:

So, what can you offer me to compensate for this situation?

This question is good because customer service reps are often trained not to offer things that they may be obligated to give you in a given situation without your asking. If you have done a good job building rapport this will probably get you on the path to being taken care of.

3: Escalate as needed

Often times the first line of defense is going to be a very inexperienced rep. This means they may not know the full extent of what they can do for you or are too nervous about their new job to feel comfortable going out on a limb to help you.

The key to escalation is to be friendly and sincere about it. Do not make the Junior rep defensive or threatened or you will end up dealing with a defensive superior out of the gate. Instead, thank them and make it clear that you understand they have done everything in their power to help you.

Bad:

This isn't good enough. I need to talk to someone who knows whats going on.

Let me talk to your boss.

Good:

Thanks for trying to help me. I understand this isn't the easiest case but I haven't gotten what I need yet to be satisfied. Is there any way you can escalate my request to someone else who might be able to pull some strings?

However you treat the first rep will be communicated to the second rep long before you talk to them. First impressions matter!

4: Be insistent

If you are doing all of the above the final step is to be insistent. You need to understand that you won't immediately get your way but if you persist in not accepting anything less than having your needs met to the best of their ability you will ultimately get your way. The smoother you can play them, the better they will treat you.

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