First, it’s the automated voice prompts. Then, five minutes of elevator music. Finally, a human picks up the phone.
While it’s often a pain, calling customer service can be worth your time.
I recently told you how I saved $240 a year on my wireless internet service with one phone call. Now, here are the do’s and don’ts when calling customer service.
CALL FIRST THING IN THE MORNING
Nothing is worse than eating up your cell phone minutes while waiting on hold. Call early to avoid long wait times. You’ll also be catching the customer service representative at the beginning of their day when they’re probably in a better mood.
Organize your thoughts before calling. What is the desired outcome? What steps will you take to achieve it?
For example, when I called AT&T recently, I knew that I wanted a lower monthly bill. I’d received offers from a competitor, so I wrote down details of the offer to present to the customer service representative.
I also jotted down specifically what I was going to say:
“I have been an AT&T customer since 2010. Recently I’ve received offers for faster service at a low introductory price. Before I make the switch, I wanted to see if there is anything you could do for me?”
WRITE DOWN THE AGENT’S NAME
I do this for two reasons. First, when I’m making my pitch, I like to use the agent’s name. People respond favorably to that show of respect. Secondly, I write down the agent’s name in case the situation isn’t resolved as promised and there’s a need to follow-up.
ASK FOR A SUPERVISOR IF NECESSARY
I like to give the first person I speak with a chance to resolve the situation before asking for their boss. I think that’s only fair. However, if you’re not getting your desired outcome, politely ask to speak to a supervisor.
LOSE YOUR TEMPER!
Customer service representatives take a lot of angry phone calls. They have procedures in place to deal with problem callers. I try to be assertive, but not aggressive when dealing with any service provider. Getting angry doesn’t help the situation.
LIE OR EXAGGERATE
Customer service representatives have heard it all. Loyalty departments want to keep your business. That’s part of their job. There’s no need to lie or exaggerate your circumstances to achieve a desired outcome. Honesty is the best policy.
FALL FOR THE SALES PITCH
The person on the phone will likely try to sell you something. Be prepared to reject multiple offers. If you’re calling to reduce a monthly payment, stay focused on that goal. Don’t be tricked into signing up for additional services that you don’t need. If you have trouble saying no, tell the agent you’d like a day to think about it.
BE AFRAID TO WALK
If the company you’ve been loyal to isn’t willing to negotiate, maybe it’s time to find another service provider. Evaluate the competition. Is there a more attractive offer for you? Go for it.