Tips on How to get GREAT Customer Service!
This comedic how to article was written during my five years working as a customer service and sales rep for a leading telecom company. It is intended to be tongue in cheek, and may come off as being a bit snarky, but no less valid today. In my line of work, we encountered a LOT of stress... changing laws, being pushed to sell and make quotas, keeping handling time low, etc etc... and a lot of the time compounding this stress is having to listen to customers complain about things which, while to them may be meaningful, in the grand scheme of things do not amount to a hill of beans. We are humans too, not punching bags, as a lot of people seem to assume. We, the phone reps, really are there to help you make sense of it all, but when it comes down to it... you are just a voice on the phone that we have to sell stuff to... one of MANY voices on the phone that we HAVE to sell to every day.
We have many rules and regs we have to follow, many scripts to read, and on the phone are REQUIRED to be professional at all times... but it has come to my attention that a lot of YOU (the customers) have no rules, or even tips to ensure that your customer service experience will be worthwhile... So like the good samaritan I am, I am here to give you...
Tips on how to interact properly with your customer service rep:
1- YES, we ARE actual humans who sit at actual desks. We have no clue how long you waited with the automated system to get to us... we have no idea how many times you had to punch in your phone number, all we know is the phone goes beep, we say good morning how can we help you. Asking us if we are REALLY human does not flatter us... and we really don't care how long you had to wait. For as long as you had to wait... we had to talk to the people in front of you in the Queue.
2- If we tell you to hold, because you are misdirected to us... DO NOT HANG UP! We are not going to dump you off into oblivion, but when we put you on hold, guess what we are doing... that's right waiting on hold on the other line to get you someone who can really help you. When you hang up, you waste their time, my time and YOURS. They say time is money, and in this economy neither of us have much of either.
3- Kvetching about how much your bill is does not make us any more inclined to lower it for you. A lot of it is taxes and fees... get over it! It's on my bill, it's on your bill... get over it. It's part of our job to get you the best value for your services... but it is also our job to SELL YOU STUFF... Going to a different company only means you will have different taxes and fees. It is better that you hear us out and use your common sense as to what we can really do for you on your service. Remember that we use the services too, and often times know a lot of tips and tricks to get your bill manageable! If you do not want to be sold to, do us all a favor and tell us that up front. Even if the bosses are listening, if a customer says "Don't sell me stuff"... we don't. Everything else is considered fair game.
4- Moaning about 3 cent charges on your bill is wasting my time and yours... you just spent 15 freaking minutes trying to convince me that you did not make that call to Sheboygan, when you know dang well your daughter did, calling her long distance boyfriend that she met on myspace. Control your kids = control your bill! Another thing, stop calling "porno chat lines" and then trying to deny it... we can see right through you. Same goes for you Mrs. Patel, with the 15 calls to Bangladesh, that you swear up and down no one in your household knows anyone over there... Yer not fooling anyone. Pay your bill. Just a little FYI for the "UN callers" in the audience, international call rates are expensive! The rates depend on the relationship the US has with said country... If you plan on calling say... North Korea, expect a REALLY HIGH BILL! My suggestion would be to make friends in Sweden... It's far cheaper to call there.
5- Calling a million times a day just to get the right rep who will do what you want, when you know you ain't gonna get it... is wasting YOUR time and ours. Besides every time you call us, we have to SELL YOU STUFF! You know when they say, "This call may be monitored for training and quality purposes"? They are not kidding... Our bosses are listening and EXPECTING us to sell you stuff, no matter WHY you called. See tip # 3.
6- DO NOT wait till the DAY your service is to be shut off and call begging and pleading to ME to keep your service on just long enough till payday. First off I am not in collections. I cannot take your payment, and I cannot convince them to keep your service on. You should have thought of that 3 weeks ago when WE SENT YOU THE BILL!!! Pay your bill.
7- Do not call me names when we shut off your service. First off, I did not do it... second off I cannot turn anything on till you pay your dang bill anyway. Calling me a (insert choice ethnic/racial slur) is certainly not going to put me in the mood to WANT to turn your service on either... I will simply transfer you to collections for you to PAY YOUR BILL!!!
8- Freaking LEARN to use your computer. It's not that difficult... PC For Dummies has been a best seller for over 10 years. If you cannot figure out how to turn the computer on, why do you have one? Calling tech support only aggravates tech support, who are there to solve REAL problems, not teach you which end of the mouse you should click. Calling ME and trying to explain it to me does not help you either... in my mind all I hear is blah blah blah... hold on, let me get you tech support.
9- READ THE FINE PRINT!!! Just because you see it on tv as 34.95 does not mean it is the greatest thing since slice bread and canned beer... understand WHAT you are buying from companies before you buy it. I do not want to hear you complaining to me how your voice mail doesn't work now... Hello McFly... what you bought DOESN'T COME with voice mail!!! But hey, yer saving money... now pay your bill. The words "caveat emptor" come to mind here...
10- Phone companies charge a month in advance... learn it, live it, love it... do not call us whining about how high your first bill is... WE TOLD YOU IT WOULD BE!!! Every time you change your plan, we charge a month in advance... you change your mind next month, we still charge a month in advance... The rules have never changed. It is often best to get your services the way you want them the FIRST time around, than to play musical services each month.
11- Did I mention PAY YOUR BILL!!! We have heard every excuse known to man. Just cut the crap and pay your dang bill already. You are not being original, you are not breaking any new ground... we have heard it all... (INCLUDING "The dog ate my bill"), and if you choose to be belligerent about it we will let our coworkers listen to the call and after you hang up we will laugh at you... PAY YOUR BILL! I love it when people tell me they want me to reimburse them for time lost because THEY did not pay THEIR bills and WE shut their service off... guess what my answer is.....
12- If you order internet service... USE IT. You are paying for the service, not whether or not you take the stupid modem out of its box. Do not let it sit there 6 months then all of a sudden notice "Hey I been paying for this DSL thing all this time! You've been ripping me off for months!!!" guess what son... you had the stuff all this time... if you did not want it you had 6 months to tell us this. Common sense people!!!
13- We are not your best friend... your counsellor, your therapist, or your shrink. We really do not care how different life was when you were young, or how much you prefer the "old system". We are here to help you with your service, and SELL YOU STUFF! We do not have an hour each day to talk to you about how your kids let you down, or how your ex-wife was a real tramp, or how lonely you have been since your husband died 10 years ago... and we CERTAINLY do not appreciate being hit on... by EITHER sex. If you want to talk, dial a chat line... but pay the bill when it comes.
14- Oh and by the way... getting drunk then calling us... bad BAD idea... we will sell you stuff, you will buy it. You will regret it when you are sober... TRUST ME on this one...
15- When we ask you for your area code and phone number, do not give us 15106, or whatever your ZIP code is... get a clue people. AREA CODE... PHONE NUMBER... not your address, not your birthdate, not your mother's maiden name. It's not rocket science here.
16- And finally... please remember that your friendly customer service rep has a freaking life too... when we have problems with our bill we do not have the luxury of calling and kvetching to ourselves about it... we find a way to SOLVE it.... oh and by the way.... we PAY OUR BILLS! There is nothing more embarrassing for us than a coworker who does not practice what they preach.
So there you have it... simple little rules to keep in mind the next time you call up any phone or cable company to discuss your account. Play nice, and all will go well.
...and PAY YOUR BILL!!!
Did I mention it was a high stress job? Just saying...