Customer Service Tips

How often do you call customer service? Do you like your experiences? Are they super awful? Well, I work in a high level of that field, and I’ve found in my experience that you may actually be contributing to this. I don’t mean that in a bias way, I mean I’ve noticed a lot of people just making things a lot harder on themselves. Here are some things you really need to know.

Don’t call outside in the wind/at a party/when there’s a baby screaming on your lap/with the tv volume cranked. This is the most simple one, I can’t believe people can’t figure this out. THEY CAN’T HEAR YOU. This frustration is completely unnecessary.

Chill the fuck out. Pretty much nothing going wrong is the fault of the person you’re speaking with, unless it’s just plain rude behavior. If they had that much control over the inner workings of the company they wouldn’t be sitting in a little cubicle listening to you scream at them. Believe it or not they would rather solve your problem and make life great instead of take shit, but sometimes it just can’t be done. They’re not god, and they didn’t even design the programs they use. if they say they can’t do something, they simply can’t, and no amount of whining is going to change that. Their supervisor can’t do it either. Let them do their job to the best of their ability and then try to have a nice day.

Try to speak clearly. Every agent I know is extremely patient. But know the best way to explain what it is you’re asking for. When you have no idea of the most basic terminology for your problem, or refuse to give much detail, not very much is going to get done. They’re not mind readers.

Recognize who it is you’re supposed to call. Just an example from personal experience here, but asking the bank why your payroll didn’t come in is like asking your garage why your car isn’t working. They just don’t know. They have nothing to do with it. They also have nothing to do with the fact that you got ripped off on eBay. They are not the grand overlords of money. Leave them alone and call the person who is actually responsible.

Realize that not everything is free. Here’s another example from my own industry. People are constantly laughing and bitching about how ridiculous it is to have to pay the bank for access to your own money. That’s NOT what you’re paying for. Banks provide you the service of a convenient and safe place to keep and keep track of your finances. They also greatly facilitate dozens of different types of transactions between you, companies, and other people. They are not a charity, and that really shouldn’t be news to you. They have hundreds to thousands of employees and they don’t work for free any more than you do. If you don’t want to pay the banks, keep your money in a sock under your mattress and see how well the direct deposit works out.

Pay attention. Speaking of paying attention, I’ve realized that most issues arise not when people are lazy or out to get you, but because people do NOT pay attention. Read contracts, they’re there for a reason and I promise there will be nothing there about sewing someone’s ass to your face. You don’t even so much have to read the big long scary ones because anything very important that affects you should be explained clearly and in full by the employee you’re dealing with. Yes, they DID tell you. You just dozed off because it was boring. Better boring than cost you a lot of money. Access to important information is very easy, just a click or phone call away. No excuses. I even seem to remember about a year ago during the mail strike nobody was paying their credit card bills because they weren’t getting the mail, but didn’t bother to simply call and ask how much was due and put through a payment. On that same note, the company is not your babysitter.

There is no big conspiracy. I’m serious. Lay off the drugs and put away your sandwich board. You sound like a crazy person.

Come prepared. When you know the company you’re calling is going to request that you answer some security questions, or have your account/reference number etc ready, KNOW YOUR SHIT. It’s one thing to spend a minute looking for numbers in your wallet, but another when you don’t know even the first thing about your own profile/accounts and then get pissed off when the agent can’t proceed to help. Security questions are there for a reason, and these companies are not your babysitters. If you have no idea what you’re even paying for, you’re irresponsible, plain and simple. This all comes back once again to paying attention. See now, this is why you’re paying weird fees.

I have one last thing to say here, something very important. They WILL hold your hand, IF you reach out to them kindly. It will not happen all by itself. You will not be coddled like a baby. I can handle all the “dumb” questions in the world without an ounce of judgement if they don’t have a bad attitude or sense of entitlement to go with them. Fuck, I’ll even repeat the answer 20 times with sincere patience if I have to. Seriously, we love to help. What we don’t love is being treated like a punching bag or worthless desk/phone jockey. Have a little respect.

Thank you for reading, and let’s all hope that these little day to day interactions can be just that much more pleasant.

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2 comments on “Customer Service Tips

  1. parvathi says:

    Wow, sounds like you got things backwards. If the person on the phone speaks with a heavy accent then that’s bad customer service. If the customer service person knows the answer then they should say so and stop the customer from going on and on. They can solve problems for the customer if they try.

    • I agree that companies should make an effort to hire agents whom customers can understand as well, I’m definitely not disputing that. The customers of course have a LOT more leeway here, because they can’t be expected to speak perfectly comprehensible English, so I never expect that they do, only that they try their best, remain patient and/or ask for the language service if it’s a larger company they’re calling. Though this is mostly about someone who says something like “my password isn’t working” but really means that the automated phone system won’t accept their card number, or “why did you shut down my account” when their password isn’t working. You can imagine this makes things more difficult than they need to be and results in a whole ton of confusion and a much longer call than it needs to be. As for your next point, good agents don’t want to interrupt anyone or make them feel brushed off, but sometimes they have to in order to get on with it, but then the customer gets mad. It has to be a two way street in either case.

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