A recent Consumer Reports survey found that two-thirds of customers have been so ticked off by poor customer service that they have walked out of a store. Here’s how to make your complaints heard.
1. Bypass automated phone menus.
Websites such as DialAHuman.com and GetHuman.com list customer service numbers and tell how to bypass automated prompts to get a real person. Another free service, LucyPhone, will help you avoid sitting on hold by letting you provide your phone number and hang up. The service calls you back when a live representative is on the line.
2. Write it down.
When calling customer service, be ready to write. Record the date and time of the call, the name and location of everyone you talk to, how many times you were put on hold and for how long, and notes of the responses. Asking for these details will show the company you’re capable, serious, and organized.
3. Threaten to take it upstairs.
If you’re not getting action, tell the customer service rep you want to escalate the issue and talk to a supervisor. Since reps aren’t supposed to let that happen, it might result in a quicker fix.
4. Air your dirty laundry in public.
If push comes to shove, use the Internet. Post your stories on social network and complaint sites. When using Twitter, use hashtag keywords to make them searchable. But stick to the facts and use good manners: while your frustration may be driving you nuts, don’t rage. Be polite, succinct, and fair. Before you hit the “enter” key, imagine that what you’re saying is going to be read aloud in court – because it might be.
5. If you use the stick, don’t forget the carrot.
If you complain, especially publicly, don’t forget to use the same venues to thank a company for a happy outcome.