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11 Ways To Get Better Customer Service

11 Ways  To Get Better Customer Service

According to a study, nearly 45% of customers can’t remember having a recent, successful customer service experience. Receiving poor treatment in a restaurant or buying a new product only to have it turn out defective can really sour your day. Fortunately, customers have more power than ever at our fingertips thanks to the internet. Here are 11 ways to get your voice heard and receive a higher level of customer service.

1. Research

Awareness of the company’s refund policy and guarantee information makes it easier to find out what exactly you’re entitled to. Read the fine print before you make a purchase. For example, some stores only issue store credit and don’t provide refunds. Be familiar with the company’s guarantee and warranty policy. You may be entitled to a free replacement or repair services depending on the defect.

2. Be Empathetic

Kill em’ with kindness. Dale Carnegie’s book, How To Win Friends and Influence People, stresses the importance of being able to see things from another person’s perspective. Try to get the salesperson to sympathize with your cause by treating them like a friend. Instead of lashing out try saying : ”I realize that it isn’t your fault but it’s disappointing to spend $200 on this purse and have the seams fall apart. I was hoping if you could give me a refund or at least store credit?”

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3.Be Specific

Specifying exactly what you want makes it easier for the business to make it up to you. Some customers get angry and rant and rave without telling the person on the other end how they can make things better. Don’t be that person. Do you want a discount? A refund? An apology? Be clear and specific when stating your demands.

4. Contact Customer Service

If you’re unable to resolve the issue in person, you may want to contact the company’s 1-800 number. Directories like Dial A Human, Flaptor and Yellow Pages make it easy to obtain contact information for any business. You can increase your chances of getting to a live person by dialing “0.”

If that doesn’t work, try to connect with the sales, billing or tech departments, which are more likely to be staffed. Once you get through, ask them to transfer you to the department you really want. Once you do get a live rep on the line, you have the option of escalating the call further by asking to speak to a supervisor. If that doesn’t work you can escalate it even further up the chain of command. Managers and executives have the power to make decisions that customer service reps don’t.

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5. The Power Of The Chargeback

If there’s one thing businesses despise it’s chargebacks. This is when a consumer contacts their credit card company in order to reverse charges and get their funds back. Reasons for a chargeback may include receiving substandard service or being charged without receiving what you ordered. It’s ultimately up to your credit card’s issuing bank to determine if the chargeback is valid or not.

6. Harness The Power of Social Media

Some large companies, such as Ford Motors, actually employ people to comb through social media for mentions of their brand with the purpose of resolving complaints. You can exercise your right to free speech by posting about your experience on Facebook and Twitter. You can also tweet to the offending company directly and mention their brand in a hashag.

7. Utilize The Company’s Online Community

Many big companies like Verizon or Dell, have an online forum or community where members can register and engage with fellow customers. Companies are more likely to address concerns posted on a forum in a timely manner since it’s public.

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8. Write An Online Review

More customers than ever are reading online reviews before frequenting a new restaurant or business.

Online review sites like Yelp, Google Places and Angie’s List are taken very seriously by business owners since even one negative review can severely impact their business. Businesses who have claimed their Yelp listing get notified immediately after every new review. Some businesses will also respond publicly to reviews.

RipoffReport is another site that allows consumers to air grievances publicly. These complaints tend to rank high in the search engines when potential customers search for the company’s business name in Google. As a result, companies are more likely to respond in a timely manner in order to protect their reputation.

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9. Write A Letter

Write a letter detailing your experience and grievances and address it to the highest ranking individual at the company; this can be the CEO or owner. Make sure to include details such as the date and time of incident and the name of the employee you interacted with. Send the letter via certified mail in order to confirm receipt. If you send it via email you can use an e-mail tracking system which notifies you when the email has been opened.

10. Contact The Better Business Bureau

What’s great about complaining to the Better Business Bureau is that they will contact the offending company on your behalf. If the company is a member of the Better Business Bureau they will have to respond. Companies that are members have to maintain certain standards in order to keep their membership active.

Give Praise When It’s Due

Acknowledge the company if they resolved the issue, especially if you made a complaint on social media or Yelp. No one is perfect and it’s fair to give a business a second chance if they’ve shown good faith in making things better.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Jacqueline Cao

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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