How to Call Customer Service and Get What You Want: Tips, Resources, and More

Combination of Automated call systems and endless hold mosaic are frustrating. Some things are more frustrating than having multiple people explain your problem and none of them have the power to help you. And unfortunately, canceling your internet service, getting help with a technical problem on your laptop, or asking about an unexpected charge, most of us will have to call the dreaded customer service hotline at some point.

Take a deep breath. It’s getting better. We’re all here to help with tips on how to call customer service without stress, or at least a little less.

Table of contents

Do you really need to call?

Before you confront yourself with potential harassment, ask yourself if there could be a better way than this. Maybe you can find the answer without calling. Check the company’s website and find the FAQ or forum. Try Google your specific problem to see if there is an easy answer. You can find a way to do this without going through the stress of calling the company.

The live chat window that now pops up on most websites may be more effective than a phone call. Through text chat, you can collect your thoughts and write them down clearly. You don’t have to hold your ear to the phone, have no audio dio problems or accents to decipher, and you have a record of the conversation at the end. If you are having trouble finding chat support on the company’s website, try googling to see if the company offers it.

How to find the correct number

Sometimes calling is the only option, but it’s worth digging around to find the best number. Many directories, such as Dial A Human and Contact Help, list numbers for companies and try to connect you with the person. Get Human also offers the best numbers, waiting time information and useful advice, although the premium service it offers has received a mixed response.

Your call will run more smoothly if you prepare before you pick up the phone. Write down your problem, the most important issues, and the resolution you want. If you have a technical problem, include the device model and everything you’ve tried so far. If you are improving or looking for a better deal, research sales and prices. Be clear and concise about what your problem is and what you want from customer service. It can also be a good idea to write a short script to help you stay on track during a call.

Always have your account details, credit card, order numbers and any other information you think relevant. If you are claiming a warranty, check what you should give and collect it before calling. Terrific reporting requirements are common, so do your research to avoid making multiple calls. It may be worth checking out the forum for advice from other customers who have made similar calls to find out what works and what doesn’t.

It seems that every company nowadays is experiencing more than normal call volume; Long wait times are the norm. You can reduce the delay by choosing the right time to call. Calling early is the best bet. Waiting times are shorter before noon, but according to Talkdesk, 7 a.m. is the best time to call, which also states that Wednesday and Thursday are the best days to call, and Monday is the worst.

Some companies offer a callback option so you don’t have to wait on hold. We hope this will become standard practice, but it is not yet universal. If the company does not offer a callback option, consider a third-party application or service for you. We haven’t tried this yet, but it serves like the above Get Human (iOS and Android) FastCustomer and Do Not Penny. Just look for a premium fee and keep in mind that these services don’t always work. In the UK, you can get better luck with WeQ4U (iOS and Android).

No one likes to deal with automated systems, but it’s not universally terrifying. Sometimes the quickest way to get where you need to go is to listen to the options and choose the right one, so don’t skip this step automatically. But if you’re having trouble, you can usually press a specific key to get someone – it’s usually 0 or #. If one press does not work, press multiple keys. Saying “operator,” “customer service,” or “representative,” will sometimes get the person in line.

When you finally meet someone, remember to be calm and polite. They may work for a company that has a problem with you, but they are not responsible for your problem. Ask how they are and use their name if they give it to you. Explain your problem clearly, but don’t take too much time, as call center workers are encouraged to deal with calls quickly. It’s smart to try to get sympathy and bring them to your side.

Patiently follow the directions they give you. Remember that they have no choice but to work through the script or specific troubleshooting steps.

Always ask for a ticket or reference number so you can speed up the process if you call back. If you meet a helpful person and they can’t solve your problem on the spot, get their number or email so you can deal with them directly in the future. Note any consistent details or promises. You may also want to consider recording, although you should check with local laws before doing so.

The first person you talk to often has limited power to help you. If you’re tired of your options, and they tell you they can’t do anything else, it may be time to grow. Instead of talking to the manager or supervisor, it would be better to ask if it is possible to proceed.

In some situations, the threat of service cancellation can send you to the retention department, which usually has the most power to offer you, but you must be prepared to follow through on the cancellation before you do this.

If you are not getting anywhere with customer service, you can get better results by going to the top. Start by finding the name of the CEO. It’s probably listed on a page on the company’s website, or you can find it on LinkedIn. You can find online email addresses for many CEOs, or you can get a chance and try their name – whatever the name of the company. If other email addresses are available, then you can make the correct syntax.

Once you get the CEO’s contact information – or another executive’s – send them a polite and concise email explaining what happened to them, why you’re not satisfied and what you want to do about it. CEOs may not read it, but they often have assistants or teams that deal with problems quickly and have more power than standard customer service.

Complain publicly on social media

When you are having trouble getting customer support or you are not getting the desired result, it is sometimes effective to complain publicly about the company by going to Twitter, Facebook, Reddit or other social media platforms. Most companies feel compelled to respond quickly to public criticism. As always, be polite and concise about the problem. Don’t be rude.

If you have tried everything without satisfaction, you should complain. Most companies have a specific complaint process. Sometimes it will trigger the probe, and maybe even a different resolution, although you shouldn’t hold your breath.

You may choose to file a complaint with a third party, such as the Better Business Bureau, which can help mediate and possibly get a better response from the company. If your problem is with financial services, then try the Consumer Financial Security Bureau. People with problems with energy or telecommunications providers in the UK can contact ombudsman services.

Whatever the outcome of your customer service call, it’s a good idea to skip the review. You can highlight poor customer service, and a negative review will often provoke companies into further action. On the other hand, make sure you appreciate the positive experiences to highlight great customer service and encourage companies to do better.

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