23 Jul

How to Get the Best from Customer Service (or, You Get More Flies With Honey Than Vinegar)

By Libby Hagedon

Social Media Strategist

There comes a time when you’re working on a project and you find yourself stuck. It could be setting up a new TV, putting together a 176-piece IKEA table or in my case, trying to work out the final details of our new e-newsletter. And when you get stuck, chances are you’re going to have to call for help. It’s never fun to accept defeat and call in the troops – especially when the troops have a bad wrap.

We all have our own Customer Service from hell stories. You know the one – you’re on hold for seventeen minutes before anyone picks up the phone, “Mark” picks up on the other end and asks you to unplug it and plug it back in. And when that inevitably doesn’t work, he’ll have to transfer your call to his buddy “Jan” while you’re on hold for another eighteen minutes before they pick up, and then they ask if you’ve turned it off and turned it back on again (you did that twelve times while you were on hold), and you can feel rage bubbling up inside of you and you have to hang up before you say something that would put you on some sort of list.

So how can I avoid that situation? My dad always taught me that if you’re kind to people, chances are they’re happy to help. Here are some tips I’ve learned on how to help them help you:

1. Be personable.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that you’re talking to a normal person. It always helps me to envision their situation – they’re probably sitting in a cubicle, with a headset on, getting yelled at all day by unhappy people. Yes, it’s their job to help you. But it will be a much better experience if you believe that you’re both on the same level and that you’re both just people. Don’t project your anger at that 175-piece IKEA table (where did that other piece go?) at the person helping you on the phone.

2. Know your problem.

I like to write down the steps I’ve taken to try to fix an issue before I call Customer Service. That way, I can fully explain what I’m doing and what trouble shooting I’ve been through. They might still be required to walk through the whole thing with you again, but at least you are organized. It also helps to fully explain an issue – “When I press this button, it shows me this instead of this” is a lot more helpful than “I can’t get it to work.”

3. Say thank you.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Simply showing gratitude towards someone for helping you not only makes his or her job easier and make them want to assist you well, but as it turns out, it can lead to a happier life for you, too.

What do you think? Have you had a good customer service experience? A horrible one? What was the biggest difference?

Article Image