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Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Rules for Getting Satisfaction or "So Now What Do I Do?"


So Christmas has come and gone and maybe that new gizmo or gadget isn’t working the way you expected and the company that you bought it from is giving you a hassle when you try to return it. Or maybe you didn’t receive something you purchased at all and now you are arguing with the company that you bought it from. Or maybe you’ve had an ongoing issue that you’ve been fighting and you just aren’t getting the results you want. It’s very frustrating and you aren’t exactly sure of how to get this problem resolved.

 
 Having worked on both sides of the phone, sometimes as a frustrated consumer and other times professionally as tech support, I can tell you that most people do not argue or present their problems effectively. As someone who has often succeeded in obtaining the desired outcome I’d like to offer some tips that I use to assist me in getting the end result I want.

 

 

  1. Don’t be emotional.
    Good customer service agents (CSR) and techs take those jobs because they sincerely want to help you but they are not your therapist. This is easy to say of course and I myself have violated this rule from time to time, but I’m going to tell you that the moment you start fuming, crying or swearing is the moment you’ve been written off. No helpdesk I’ve ever worked at has required me to stay on the phone with an irritate customer who was using profanity and in most cases, our bosses will have us hang up on you. If you are crying, I’m at a loss of what you need from me. Present your situation just like you would if you were in court. Tell me what the problem is, what you did to resolve the problem, what the result was, and what you want to have happen. When you do that, you’ve armed your CSR with a game plan to help you. Be professional, there is no reason to be hostile. As frustrating as it has been, the person on the end of the line has just picked up this call and has no idea what you’ve been through. Be professional and courteous. Honestly, we want to help you. Give us the information to do it.



  1. Be direct.
    When someone starts the conversation with “So…” I know I’m in trouble. Please, don’t lead us down the garden path… just tell me how I can help you…

  2. Are you calling the right helpdesk/phone number?
    I can’t begin to tell you how often and how many times a day we receive calls that aren’t ours. Sometimes the client may give our number out to an end user. Other times they are trying to call another branch. It may sound horrible, but unless you are our client, we can’t help you. It’s not that we are trying to be mean, but our company and our paychecks get paid by our client so we have to have our phones available for the client’s issues. If you find out that the number you called is incorrect, ask the second most important question in the English language… “If you can’t help me, who can? Do you have their phone number?” (The first being, “Can You Help Me?”). In most cases we'll be glad to give it and even transfer you.

        
  3. Document, document, document!  
    When did you call? Who did you talk to? hat did they tell you? What was the result?

    Every time you speak to someone or email someone make sure you capture their name and when you called or emailed. Also, make sure that you do the physical call as well if you choose to email. This becomes crucial when you need to escalate a problem or write a letter. You need to show that you tried with a good faith effort to get this problem resolved and didn’t just write the corporate office at a drop of the hat. This becomes critical if you actually have to file a case with the attorney general of your state.

  4. Do an internet search to see if there has been a documented case or recall listed. Talk to people. You may find out that there is a known issue/case ongoing.
    I once ordered a computer from a well known computer manufacturer for a relative. This computer was supposed to contain an internal modem which it did not. I spent two days and spoke to 13 people from here, India, and Germany and still didn’t get any assistance. I was venting about the situation at work and a colleague mentioned that the attorney general of my state had a class action suit against this company for the very reason I was having a problem with them. I checked online with the attorney general’s office and found that there was indeed a class action suit against them. I submitted the forms along with all my personal documentation and was quite pleased with the check I received from my portion of the class action suit. All it took was submitting the work I’d done and the proper forms found on the web to get the desired end result for my relative.

  5. Clearly articulate what you want the end result to be and what your next step will be if this isn’t achieved…and follow through.
    Often companies assume that you’ll simply drop the issue if they make it difficult enough. If you’ve talked to the CSR, the supervisor, etc. and you still aren’t getting satisfaction, ask the supervisor for the phone number and/or address of the corporate office and who you should direct a letter to… and MAIL it. Mail has a lot more clout than emails. Someone that has actually taken the time to mail a letter will get someone’s attention. (If they don’t give you the address, Google “(Store name), corporate office, address” and who their CEO is and address the letter to that person.)  In that letter, again present your case, write the steps you took and who and when you talked to the agents, what you want done and a time frame of when this needs to be done. If you discover that there is indeed some history/ongoing case etc. explained that you discovered this is indeed a known issue. If nothing happens, submit a claim form with your state’s attorney general. Google: attorney general, (your state)
     
 
A fact that was once presented to me in a training class was that every satisfied customer may tell three people of their experience. Every unsatisfied customer tells an average of ten people. Companies want you to be happy, it simply isn’t good for business if your not. You may not always win, but you may have a better chance if you follow the above steps.






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