Inspired to by Mike D’s Vonage story, Austin writes in a hot tip for all of looking to pole vault low-level CSR and reach the Valhalla of customer service.
“Most all large companies have some sort of executive customer service staff, made up of individuals who have the power to cut through all sorts of red tape,” he writes. “The key is knowing how to access these wonderful people who can make things right when everything else has gone wrong.”
- ï¿½ For public companies, put the stock ticker symbol in Google Finance and pull up the profile page. The corporate office should be listed under Company Facts.
ï¿½ Call the corporate office.
ï¿½ Ask for a transfer to the office of the CEO.
ï¿½ You will likely get an exec. assistant but that’s good. Voice mail is ok, too.
ï¿½ Give succinct summary, including identifying details like order numbers and confirmation numbers.
ï¿½ Remain nice.
“Within a day, you should get the phone call equivalent to the holy grail–a call back by someone on the executive service team.”
Using this method, Austin says he got Verizon to do in three days what it hadn’t in three months: install his DSL.
His full letter, after the jump…
- “In his email about Vonage, Mike D. actually mentions a very useful entity for those of us who do battle with various companies that attempt to screw us over. Most all large companies have some sort of executive customer service staff, made up of individuals who have the power to cut through all sorts of red tape. The key is knowing how to access these wonderful people who can make things right when everything else has gone wrong.
I find the easiest way to get your issue heard is to call the corporate offices and ask to be transferred to the office of the CEO, the assistant to the CEO, or some similar entity (reference the executive by name if you want to sound like you really know what you’re doing). To find the corporate phone number, a little basic sleuthing in Google is necessary, since the normal customer service number will likely either not know the phone number or not be willing to give it out. For publicly traded companies, just plug the ticker symbol into Google and pull up the Google Finance profile page–the phone number will usually be listed under “Company Facts.” Even if the company is not publicly traded, it usually isn’t difficult to find the phone number using Google–it may even be listed in some obscure corner of the company’s web site. Alternatively, you can also attempt to find the email address of the CEO or other executive, but I find that calling is often faster, because that makes them realize that you are so upset about something that you took the effort to find out who to call.
The operator will likely transfer you to an executive assistant, but this is exactly what we want. Sometimes it will be voice mail, but occasionally you’ll get a real live person. Either way, remember that you are dealing with busy people, so don’t bother rambling on about your problem, but rather try to give a succinct summary, including any identifying details that may be helpful (order numbers, confirmation numbers, etc.). As with many other things in life, remaining civil and calm will do wonders, particularly since all you need to do is get your foot in the door.
Within a day, you should get the phone call equivalent to the holy grail–a call back by someone on the executive service team. At this point, they may or may not have been able to access the complete details of what has already transpired, but now is a good time to fill them in. This person will be the one who will work with you until your problem is resolved, so if they don’t immediately offer it, be sure to get their phone number so you can contact them again should any other problems come up.
On a personal note, just a couple of months ago I had to make use of this strategy when Verizon decided that the DSL line I had ordered for my new apartment was clearly something I didn’t want, and customer service kept pushing back the scheduled installation date until it was over three months from when my lease started. Heck, once when I was on the phone with a normal customer service supervisor trying to see what was holding up my order, he rolled back my installation date by two weeks on the spot, but couldn’t give a reason why he needed to do so! At that point, I was so frustrated that I found the corporate switchboard phone number for Verizon, did exactly what I describe above, and am happy to say that within two and a half days I had a fully functioning DSL line in my new apartments, something that probably would have not happened for at least a month or two had I not contacted the CEO’s office directly.
I hope this tip proves helpful to everyone out there who may run into a brick wall known affectionately as customer service.