How to Get the Most Out of a Service Call

It happens to all of us: A product or service breaks down, a bill has an error, or something happens where a customer service and/or technical support person needs to get involved. Here are a few tips and tricks to get the most out of calling for help, the next time you need it, from someone who has been on the other end of the call. You can thank me later.

1. If it’s really urgent (as in your service is completely down), please call as soon as possible – Don’t wait until later to call, and then complain that your service has been down for an extended time.
2. Be where you can assist – If you’re having trouble with your service, don’t call from your cell phone on the opposite side of town.
3. Have something to write with – At the top, write down the date and time you begin the call, for your own records. When the agent calls, they should always identify themselves by name, or at least by some sort of unique ID… write that down! Over the course of the call, they may provide information that you might find useful… phone numbers, ticket numbers, etc. Write them down, as well.
4. Have your account information available – Specifically your account number.
5. Don’t begin the call with a deluge of information – At the onset, identify yourself by name, give them a brief description of the issue, when wait for them to prompt you for additional information.
6. Be sure they have a good callback number – A good representative will either verify the phone number you’re calling from or specifically ask for one, then if the call is dropped mid-conversation, they would be able to contact you again and continue.
7. Make certain you’re dealing with the right person – A Billing agent may not be able to troubleshoot your equipment like a Tech Support agent could. A Tech Support agent may not be able to help with a Sales issue. Be sure you’re talking to someone who can help with whatever the current issue is.
8. Don’t get upset – Harder to do than say, but raising your voice, belittling the agent or crying will not make the agent work any harder or magically be able to correct your issue. They will already be trying their best before any drama comes into play. In fact, becoming upset only makes the agent raise their emotional defenses and may actually work against you, because no one like to talk to another person who’s being belligerent and/or unreasonable.
9. Never use profanity – at best it’ll just make the agent start tuning you out, at worst they may be authorized to hang up on you after giving you a warning. The occasional slip of the tongue is usually overlooked, though.
10. Never threaten violence – Every call is recorded, and any and all caller information will be forwarded to the police in your area. You will be prosecuted.
11. Never threaten legal action – Once you threaten to sue the company, you’ll likely be immediately transferred to the legal office and the agent will, by policy, no longer be able to converse with you.

You may not believe it, but the vast majority of call center workers really do care and want to see your issues addressed to your satisfaction. There are a few that have either done it so long to or are so new that they haven’t gotten with the program, but those people will eventually self-terminate. Those of us who invest ourselves in providing a good service experience many times run the risk of having our feelings hurt because actually caring exposes us to the bad calls along with the good ones.

So, if I may add a #12 to the list, it’d be, “Remember the person on the other end of the call is human, too.”