Rude, incompetent or poorly trained staff can be all it takes to turn a customer service call sour.
I’ve just read some research by Which? showing how poorly most people rate their broadband company – and a big part of the problem is customer service. I can relate to that.
Around 18 months ago I finally managed to break from a six-month cycle of customer service horrors with TalkTalk.
It’s not just broadband that has the monopoly here. I’ve experienced some breathtakingly bad customer service from energy company NPower too.
You can hear more about those sagas in my latest video below, but suffice to say they’re the two worst experiences I’ve had with businesses as a customer.
And the result is there won’t be any deal or promotion that’ll get me back with either.
Of course, there are plenty of examples of good customer service experiences, and those brands have a chance of redemption when things go wrong. But it’s the bad ones that tend to stick with me.
So here’s how I stand up to poor customer service – and how you can too.
I’m most likely to call up a company because there’s something wrong or broken, and getting rude, unhelpful or incompetent people on the other end of the line tends to compound the problem – and the anger.
But getting angry with whoever you speak to, no matter how you’re being treated, is unlikely to get you what you want.
Know what you want
If it’s compensation you’re after, say so. If it’s just a replacement, let them know. I’ll generally ask for a goodwill gesture to compensate me for my time on top of any refund I’m due.
Ask to speak to a supervisor
Sometimes there’s little the person on the other end of the line can do, or perhaps they’ve just not been trained properly.
When this happens I always ask to speak to a supervisor. More often than not the problem can now be solved, or some compensation is now magically available.
Use social media
If you’re not getting results from emails or phone calls, try using Twitter to air the problem.
I recently had a very poor dessert from burger joint Shake Shack (you’ll see what I mean by the two pics below). I tweeted my disappointed and in return, I received £20 in vouchers to spend – far more than I expected!
— Andy Webb CleverCash (@AndyCleverCash) February 23, 2017
Keep a record
Make sure you’re keeping track of all the calls, online chats and emails so you’ve evidence you can use later on.
If things aren’t working at all, there’s a service which helps escalate your complaint up the chain – potentially as far as an ombudsman. It’s called Resolver and it’s full of advice on your consumer rights.
Don’t give up
It’s often easy to lose the will to carry on when you’re not getting anywhere. But don’t! Keep going. Be a thorn in their side.
It only takes a few minutes to send an email. Keep sending them until you get a response. Persevere!