Ron Burley, the man behind “Unscrewed: The Consumers’ Guide to Getting What You Paid For,” has published two articles on how to effectively deal with customer service reps. On the Do Not Want side, you shouldn’t threaten legal action, because it will likely shut down any further communication as the company goes into automatic CYA mode. (You don’t want to tip your hand about any legal action anyway.) What you should say is “Thank you,” because being nice might help you stand out among the parade of complainers.
Here are the things Burley says you should never say:
- You’re contacting a lawyer or going to sue;
- You’re going to get the CSR fired;
- You’re going to bankrupt the company;
- Any sort of cursing, sexual innuendo, or bigoted language;
- You’re never shopping there again;
- You’re going to contact the media;
- You’re going to kill the CSR or anyone else.
As for what you should say:
- “What’s your name?”
- [to yourself] “Be calm.”
- “We…” (act as though you and the CSR are part of a team working to solve the problem)
- “My goal is…”
- “I’m not going away.”
- “Thank you.”
These general guidelines are worth remembering whenever you need to launch an Executive Email Carpet Bomb as well. Check out our guidelines on how to launch your own EECB, or review our collection of posts on EECBs that have worked for other readers.
“7 Things You Should Never Say to Customer Service” [AARP]
“Seven Things You Should Always Say to Customer Service” [AARP] (Thanks to George!)