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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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