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What are your Best Customer Service Tips?

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Technology has Raised the Bar for Customer Service

Customer service models are changing constantly with the evolution of technology.

Just think, 10 years ago there was no Twitter, no Facebook, no live chat.

20 years ago there were no search engines, no online customer help centers, and no review websites.

Granted, I wasn’t really a consumer of anything other than Nintendo games, baseball cards, and Big League Chew 20 years ago – but I’d be willing to bet that customer service today is far superior to what it was 20 years ago.

Back then, companies could get away with having a few bad customer service reps. Feedback was word of mouth, at worst. There was no 24/7 live chat, Twitter, and the threat of having your reputation being damaged in front of an increasingly Internet-savvy consumer audience.

Technology has raised the bar. We demand a hell of a lot more today than we did 20 years ago. We expect perfection, and if we don’t get it, we broadcast it.

In my day job, I consult with a lot of business marketers. When I ask them what their competitive advantages are (in a very competitive marketplace), more than three-quarters of them say “great customer service”. I have to bite my tongue every time. Great customer service is not a competitive advantage – it’s a NECESSITY in order to maintain a customer base. It is EXPECTED.

best customer service tips

How to Get Customer Service Results – My Take

Despite high expectations and customer service models that aim to please, being a dick to get your way is typically not the best way to go about things. I have found the following rules of engagement to generally be effective:

  1. The people on the other end of the line are human beings, just like you. As such, treat them the way you would want to be treated.
  2. Be reasonable and have valid talking points.
  3. Be pleasant as if the CSR were a friend, neighbor, or colleague. Ask them how they are doing.
  4. Do your research beforehand. Find out how others have fared in asking for what you are asking for.
  5. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.
  6. Be patient and calm. If you’re talking with a service rep in person, smile when you first greet them.

If your ask is reasonable, 90% of the time you will get what you are asking for.

The Dirty Customer Service Secret: There is No Manager

Having worked in customer service previously, here’s a secret. When you ask for a manager over the phone or on a chat, you will never get a manager.

You may get transferred to someone else, but that someone else is just another CSR disguised as a manager who has likely been trained in conflict resolution (or who is known for being a hard-ass).

You will likely get poorer results in being transferred than you would have with the original rep. So NEVER demand for a manager immediately. Always start with your first point of contact.

Be Willing to Take your Business Elsewhere as a Last Resort

Banks, telecom, and cable companies are notorious for bad customer service. In many cases, their reps are trained to concede nothing to you, even if you are right and reasonable.

For those 10% of the times that you don’t get what you are reasonably asking for, be willing to take your business elsewhere.

At times, this has been the ONLY strategy that works in some Comcast customer service negotiations.

Those same types of companies don’t want you to know that their customer acquisition costs are enormous – and if they lose you, it could cost them hundreds or thousands of dollars every single year you are with a competitor.

As a result, you have to threaten to leave at times.

Oh, and to avoid bad service in the first place, here is a list of money-saving companies I have experienced great customer service with.

What are your Best Customer Service Tips?

  • What strategies have you used to achieve good customer service results?
  • Have you been a customer service rep? What secrets can you share?
  • Have you ever used social media to get customer service results when other methods failed? Did it work?

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About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You can also explore every post I have written, in order.

  • Rita says:

    Being nice does go a long way. Sometimes that’s very hard. You have to remember that each customer service rep may have policies that they generally have to adhere to, but each of them are human. Be patient and talk to them as if they are your equal, not below you, and you’ll get better results.

  • Britton says:

    I agree that good customer service is a necessity, but truly great customer service IS a real differentiator. My absolute favorite customer service experience is with the great people at Lands End. If you check out their facebook page, people RAVE about their customer service, and it’s a main factor for what keeps people coming back. From their live chat online to their call center where a real person answers right away to their awesome return policies, I have become a Lands End customer for life. I’ve often wondered how much they spend on it, and if they are getting a good return on their investment.

  • AJ says:

    Having been in customer service, I find that I usually am more lenient towards people who act disappointed about their situation and ask for options nicely, rather than persons who get frustrated about the situation and begin yelling and demanding perks. I spend most of the phone conversation calming that person down, time I could have used to let you know that we do have other packages available, one of which might fit your needs better and is $20 less.

    At the end of the rant, I don’t really feel like letting that person know about the other options, I just want to be rid of them. Therefore I will take extra measures to wrap up the phone call quickly, or conveniently forget to send that email to supervisor so-and-so for you until tomorrow (if at all). You’ll get out of it what you put in; if you’re nice, I’m nice. if you’re evil, well, they pay me to /act/ nice.

  • I worked in the call center industry for 7 years. With my experience in dealing with customers, I learned how to deal with agents when I call for complaints and inquiries. Yes, be nice to them. You cuss them, they will also do the same thing without you hearing it. The mute button is always present on the phone! Negotiate patiently and calmly though we must admit that agents are tied up and they have limited access to some requests and demands.

  • Shaun says:

    Something I have come across in the past is if a car dealership is not repairing a car to your liking, not repairing warranty issues or not honoring a parts warranty from another dealership (same brand of car i.e. Buick to Buick), then call their national service line.

    More than once I have had a dealership calling me with tail between their legs after I gave them the option to fix the car the way it was supposed to. I have also ended up with coupons for free oil change or discounted service from the dealership and/or the national brand’s service division.

    Unfortunately dealership’s service divisions have made it a habit to try and separate us from our hard earned dollars. So also, if you are dropping your car off and leaving keys for them, on the envelope where they ask how much you authorize them to bill you, write down very little as otherwise they will bill you to within cents of what you authorized them to spend. The car company’s service division is usually great to deal with until you have to deal with a local dealership who just wants to separate you from your hard earned dollars.


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