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How do I Deal with Poor Customer Service?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 17, 2024
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No one should have to deal with poor customer service, but unfortunately it is becoming quite common. In general, it is more likely that you will need to deal with poor customer service representatives over the phone, though it might happen in a store as well. One of the most important things to remember when dealing with a difficult customer service representative is to remain calm; do not yell or curse, even if the representative is behaving unprofessionally. Remaining calm will make it more likely that someone else at the company will be helpful to you in the future.

When you have made a phone call to a call center and are dealing with customer service, the first step may be to ask for what you want directly. If you have a problem with a bill, for example, and believe the company owes you money, you should state your case clearly, and ask for exactly what you want. That might be a bill adjustment or a refund. It is helpful to educate yourself about policy ahead of time; for instance, if you are attempting to switch to a cheaper phone plan, have the company website in front of you with all of the different phone plans the company offers.

If you find that you are receiving poor customer service and not being helped, you may ask to speak to a supervisor. The customer service representative should allow that, but some will not. If that occurs, simply end the call politely and call back. You may get a different customer service representative who can either help you or transfer you to a supervisor. Also, ask if the company has a Customer Retention department. Another option is to call the headquarters of the company, or to file a written complaint. Document the time and the nature of your phone call, as well as the name of the person who gave poor customer service.

Another option when dealing with poor customer service is to threaten to cancel your service or purchase a product from a competing location. Companies do not want to lose business, and they may be more likely to work with you. If you find you cannot get any satisfaction over the phone, and the business has a physical location, try visiting them in person to receive a resolution to your problem. There, you may ask to speak to a manager if you receive poor customer service, and they cannot simply brush you off. Be persistent yet polite, and if the problem is not resolved, consider filing a report with your local Better Business Bureau.

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Discussion Comments
By Scrbblchick — On Mar 25, 2014

@Rotergirl - Email is a good idea. Call centers are completely useless. Assuming you even get to talk to a human, like you said, they're probably working from a script, and if English is their sixth language, not their first, there may be a serious communications gap.

I'd also add that threats are not helpful. It's much more effective to just say what happened and what you want the company to do (within reason) and leave it at that.

By Rotergirl — On Mar 24, 2014

Sometimes, talking to a manager does work. But sometimes, they're just working off a script, too.

A lot of customer advocates say a good way to deal with poor customer service is with a brief, polite email. This does a couple of things: first, it starts a paper trail if you have to kick the complaint upstairs and second, it states your issues clearly and concisely. Don't email a laundry list of grievances. Stick to the one or two that are the worst offenders, and those the company can actually fix.

Keep copies of every piece of correspondence you get from the company and work through the complaint process before you take it to the top.

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