More customer service tricks to get your way

By Sandra Gordon on May 13, 2013 12:01:00 am

SS_Blog_Customer Service_5ALast week, I spoke with Jeanne Bliss, who has devoted her career to helping major companies like Land’s End and Microsoft improve their customer-service departments. This week, Bliss reveals more tricks for dealing with customer-service reps that might help you get your way or a better deal. It’s possible.

Ask “How’s your day?” When calling a company’s customer-service department, try to make friends with the person you’re talking to. “Personally connecting with customer-service representatives warms them up to the conversation,” Bliss says. In many cases, customer-service reps have little extras they can throw your way, if they want to, such as giving a discount on your next purchase, extending the return date for a purchase or the hold dates (if you’re booking a flight), or waiving fees. In some cases, customer-service reps may need to get permission from their manager before granting these benefits. But they’re more apt to do that if you’re friendly.

Stress your worth to the company. If you’ve been a loyal customer, don’t be afraid to tout it, especially if you want the rep to make an exception for you. Emphasize what a good customer you’ve been. You might say, for example, “I’ve been a customer for 10 years and I’ve bought over $5,000 worth of merchandise from you,” or “I’ve placed 15 orders within the last three years.” Companies don’t want to lose good customers, Bliss says. Still, the order department and the customer service department’s databases may not be connected. In other words, customer-service reps may not be able to see your purchasing history on their computer. So don’t be shy. Let them know how much you’re worth to the company, which is the retail equivalent of name dropping.

Use social media. If something isn’t going your way—say, for example, you can’t get a customer-service representative on the phone, use Twitter to get the company’s attention. You can tweet at the company by using the @ symbol. Here’s an example: “@company I can’t reach a human in your customer-service dept. Pls call me.” If you want the world to see your Tweet, put a period in front of the @ symbol, like this: .@. If you’re a past customer, the company should have your telephone number in their records, so don’t Tweet your phone number. “There are great companies out there scouring Tweets to find customers in need,” Bliss says. Another powerful alternative: Complain on the company’s Facebook page.

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Sandra Gordon

Sandra Gordon

Posted at 12:01:00 AM in
Consumer protection | Customer service | Featured | Money & Shopping | Online Shopping | Sandra Gordon | Shopping

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