This post was originally published in 2007, but I still use these tips today. They’ve stood me in good stead throughout the years, and should serve you well too!
I hate calling customer service. But I do it anyway, because I hate not saving money even more. In fact, I’ve been doing it for years, and I’ve saved thousands of dollars because of it. Keeping the end in mind helps me pick up the phone. So do these tips:
- Always have the necessary information in front of you. This includes the bill you’re calling to question, your account number, product info, or anything else the CSR may ask for.
- Always take notes. I usually write directly on the bill or relevant paper if there is one. If there isn’t, I write on a blank piece of paper and store it with the relevant records. You could use a notebook, or keep a file on your computer, tablet or phone. Do whatever works for you – just make sure you write down the date, the name of the CSR, and the important details of your conversation. It’s okay to ask the CSR to speak more slowly or hold on a moment because you’re writing things down (in fact, they may provide better service because they know you’re documenting the call).
- Make sure you can find the paper you wrote on when you follow up. This actually goes along with tip #1. If you have to make a follow up call, it’s best to have your notes from the previous call in front of you. That way you can start off by saying, “On September 6, I spoke to Mary, who said that I would save money by switching phone plans.” This makes it clear to the CSR that you’re on the ball, and it’ll be easy to answer questions about what you were told the last time you called.
- Be polite. I’ve had the best results when I’ve stayed calm and polite, even if at the same time, I’m stomping my feet because I’m so frustrated. It helps to call when you’re in a relatively good mood and not pressed for time. Which leads into the next tip . . .
- Do something else that’s interrupt-able when you call. I hate being on hold, so I make sure that I’m doing something else that can be easily interrupted when I call. This can include going through posts on Google Reader, writing thank-you notes, or simply flipping through a magazine.
- If you do snap, apologize. I’ve done this when my frustration has gotten the best of me. I say something like, “I’m very sorry for my harsh tone. This is very frustrating and I’d really like to get this resolved.” If appropriate, I mention the prior, ineffective calls that I made. This is also a good time to ask to speak to a supervisor.
Follow these tips and calling customer service will be a little less painful.
This post will be linked to Thrifty Thursday at Living Well, Spending Less.