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How To File A Complaint Against Your Telephone Provider or Cell Phone Company - Give Em’ A Chance First

Updated on May 26, 2012

If you read the first article, you should already have a goal in mind of what you want to accomplish. Wether it’s a refund or simply letting a company know that their service is unacceptable, you should know what your end game should be before you start. Now with that being said, hopefully you have already waited at least a day or so before making a subsequent call back to your company. Before we go any further, let me warn you: watch your tone and language with the representative you talk to. Do you remember the old adage of “you get more bees with honey”? It’s true. Remember that person on the other end of the phone is a human being just like you are. They probably dislike talking with you as you do them, so be courteous.

Ok now for the nitty gritty of your conversation. Keep it factual and answer all the questions that the representative asks you. Yes I know that you have already told them your childhood hero, as well as the name of your first pet, but you must remember, this is the first time they have actually spoken with you, so give them respect, and in return you should get some back as well.

Once you have stated the problem actually give them the change to correct it. I know this may be the second or third time calling, but at least try. Remember to log who you spoke with and at what time. It’s unrealistic to ask the representative their last name, simply ask for their unique company identifier. I guarantee they have one. Be on the lookout though... I once had a coworker that refused to give out his identifier and would actually read the customer’s telephone number back to them in reverse. Surprisingly enough, no one ever caught on to it; customer or management.

Things may get a bit heated with the representative, but remember keep it professional. Contrary to popular believe telephone company employees can and will hang up on you if you become rude or irate. It is quite alright to request to speak with a supervisor. In fact, some of the big companies have rules in place with catchy nicknames that state that customers have access to a manager 100% of the time. Realistically, sometimes managers really are in a meeting, and sometimes they really can’t talk to you. Just keep that in mind and if you ask for a supervisor and you are denied, just ensure you you have the person’s name that denied your request.

I want to speak with another representative! Another common request I heard all the time. The reality of the situation is that representative is getting paid to handle the call, they aren’t supposed to simply transfer you back into the customer service queue. Beside employees view this as “The customer isn’t going to get what they want from me so they want to speak with someone else.” Besides, the representative has already noted your account, so the next person you talk to is simply going to say your request has already been denied. Remember what I said about calling back and speaking with someone the same day? The same concept holds true for transferring a call to another employee other than a manager. I was also constantly asked to speak with the CEO of the company. I’ll be honest here, he has better things to do than talk with customers. As an employee I have no earthly way to even get ahold of this man, I certainly can’t transfer him to you. While we’re on the subject, lets say that your brother knows, a guy who actually was the CEO’s college girlfriend. Employees don’t care. If you start name dropping, all we think is that you googled the company and were smart enough to figure out who the CEO was, it certainly does not instill fear in our hearts.

I wanted to bring up another huge no-no when it comes to speaking with your telecommunications provider. At no time is it actually acceptable to record the conversation. Yes, I know it’s a bit of a double standard, because every thirty seconds while you’re on hold between the insanely boring jazz music you are reminded that the call could be recorded for quality control purposes. I guarantee that if you try to pull a fast on one the rep and state that you’ are recording the conversation, it’s a one way ticket to actually hear the call center background noise. Representatives are trained to state they do not agree to the recording and they will request you discontinue your clandestine methods. If you don’t comply they will simply stop talking. In most states you need both parties consent before a recording is legal anyway, good luck trying to get their approval. But wait! The phone company has a recording of your last call, lets here it! Sorry folks, it doesn't work that way. Believe it or not, with the volume of calls companies receive, not all calls are recorded. In addition, many of the union rules prevent not only the playback of recordings without the consent of the representative, but not everyone has access to them. So if you were actually lucky enough to have your last call recorded, the rep you are talking to now has no way to pull it up. Besides, many companies truly do the recordings at random per union regulations.

Ok so you have spent enough time on the phone and you have just decided that you’ll stay on hold forever until it’s resolved. Depending on the company you are calling, you may actually be doing more harm than good. For example, that poor customer service rep that you were so lucky to be connected to in some cases gets reprimanded if they have long calls. They don’t really want to draw out the call if there is nothing that can be done anyway. Odds are they will place you on hold until you hang up, or they will transfer you to a voicemail in an attempt to get you off the line. Who knows they might even just hang up on you. The reason behind this is that every company I have worked for the target time for all telephone calls were 7 minutes. That’s right your friendly rep has 7 minutes to verify you, calm you down, fix the problem and sell you something....

Back it up a minute, did you say sell me something? Yes, yes I did. Many of the customer service reps you are speaking to are actually trained sales ninjas in disguise. We had a saying “If you’re not buying your flying!” They will do whatever it takes to get you off the line because you are so upset you won’t even listen to a sales pitch. Now I hate to admit this, but I too was a sneaky sales ninja. I know it’s hard to believe, but I would often times actually fix a problem for a customer and in the spirit of great service would actually ask to customer to hold a moment, that I had an idea. In reality, I would take a moment or so to contemplate my next chess or checkers move with the guy sitting right next to me, or plot out my triple word score on Words with Friends. When I came back to the line, I always had great news! “Because of the problems you have had I have been authorized to give you two months of free blah blah blah blah.” If I had built a rapport with the customer, upset customers were the easiest to sell to because they thought I really cared. Sure I would tell them that they were under no obligation to keep the service or product, but it was my way of saying I was sorry.... Sounds sweet right? Just beware that someone “fixing” your account might also lead to more problems.

So nothing has worked up until this point? Do you feel that your voice hasn’t been heard? Great, then lets move on to the next step! State Resources! Now it’s time to actually dig in and file a formal complaint. See wasn’t it nice to actually give the big ole’ phone company a chance to get things right? Sometimes they fix whatever they did wrong, sometimes they just screw it up even more, but at least you can sleep at night knowing YOU at least did the right thing.


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