Money Monday: How To Make Customer Service Calls That Get Results

BY: - 24 Jun '13 | Money

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For months you’ve been overcharged for cell phone service options you never even asked for.

It’s been five days since you signed up for new cable service, but the cable installer is still nowhere to be found.

Your airline lost your luggage and doesn’t seem too interested in finding it.

Customer service problems like these plague us all. But how do you get your problem solved without going through customer service hell? Follow these tips and you just might get the resolution you’re looking for while keeping your sanity intact.

Avoid voicemail purgatory

Your first barrier to solving any customer service problem may be getting an actual human on the line. But don’t worry, you can avoid the maze of voicemail prompts altogether by using services like These websites provide you with the tricks and tips you’ll need to reach a real live human as quickly as possible.

Play nice

Naturally most of us are fuming when it comes to resolving customer service issues, but keep in mind that it’s not the customer service agent’s fault.

Put away the anger. Customer service agents are humans too and they’ve probably been dealing with angry, rude, and abusive customers all day long.

Honestly, would you go out of your way to help someone after being verbally abused? As the saying goes, you’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Deep down everyone wants to be useful. This is why people are so eager to help lost motorists who ask for directions. Use this basic human psychology to your advantage. Turn the customer service agent into an ally. Make her/him seem like a hero, capable of helping you in your quest.

As the bloggers at point out:

Be as friendly as possible with the customer service representative, the operator, in fact every one that you deal with. It’s a kind of variation on Stockholm Syndrome. The quicker you can establish that you are in this together the more you will get empathy from the other party…. Give your customer service rep a good and memorable experience. They will work that much harder on your behalf. They may even drop a few interesting pieces of information about the company here and there that may be helpful in your quest. blog suggests you enlist the customer service agent as an ally by asking this one simple question: “What would you do if you were in my situation?” Often they’ll give you advice on how to get your problem resolved quickly.

Suggest that you might leave or cancel service

It’s much cheaper for a company to keep a current customer than it is for a company to obtain a new one. As a result, many companies will switch you to a customer retention office whose sole goal is to retain you as a customer. These departments have much more latitude to bring about the results you’re looking for.

When using this strategy, however, it’s best to have specific offers from competitors in hand. Start off by saying something like, “I would really like to stay with your company so I hope that you can help me resolve the situation, but company Y has offered me this [fill in the blank] alternative. Is there any way that we can resolve this so that I don’t have to switch?”

You might be surprised at how quickly you’ll see results.

Climb the chain of command

Sometimes the first customer service agent you encounter just doesn’t have the authority to provide you with what you want. If you are not getting the results you’d like ask to speak to a supervisor. The key is to remain persistent without being rude. Remember, the supervisor will have access to notes recorded by the original customer service agent. Supervisors are much more inclined to help you out if you haven’t been acting like a raging lunatic.

Don’t forget the power of social media

Many companies employ people whose sole purpose is to monitor the company’s brand online. You’d be surprised at how quickly you can get a problem resolved if you post your complaint on twitter or on the company’s Facebook page. In fact, according to a study by NM Incite, 47% of American social media users now seek customer service through social media outlets.

Make the call to the executive suite

If you’ve exhausted all resources and still haven’t gotten your problem solved it may be time to take your issue straight to the top. Most large companies employ a crack commando squad of experts who can quickly get any issue solved. But they aren’t going to advertise this fact to everyone. In fact, finding the telephone numbers to these high level customer service agents takes some work.

These problem solving magicians are usually attached to the office of the CEO and act as a gateway to the company’s top executives.

According to the consumerist blog:
“Most all large companies have some sort of executive customer service staff, made up of individuals who have the power to cut through all sorts of red tape. The key is knowing how to access these wonderful people who can make things right when everything else has gone wrong.”

To locate them, start by using Google to obtain the company’s corporate office phone number. Specifically, you’re looking to connect with the CEO’s office. Before you place your call have the following ready: your complaint succinctly summarized; the steps you’ve taken to try to resolve the issue; and the steps you’d like the company to take to solve your problem.

Of course you’re not going to reach the CEO, but you will mostly likely reach a member of the company’s executive customer service team, and they will often get your issue resolved swiftly.

BMWK, what tactics have you used to get your customer service issues resolved?

About the author

Alonzo Peters

Alonzo Peters is founder of, a personal finance website dedicated to helping Black America achieve financial independence.


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