Preemptively Praise Customer Service Reps And They Will Do Your Bidding

Before asking customer service representatives to tackle thorny issues, win them over by first offering to praise them at the end of the call. According to Psychology Today, the offer establishes a reciprocal relationship that CSRs will try to honor, even if solving your problem takes, ugh, work.

If you’ve ever contested a mysterious charge on your credit card, tried to resolve a problem with your computer, or wanted to return an item to a vendor, you’ve probably encountered stubborn customer service agents — people who seem nice at the outset but change their tune when they realize complying with your request will cause additional work on their part. To change their orientation toward you, try the following: If you find toward the beginning of your interaction that the customer service agent is being particularly friendly, polite, or responsive — perhaps before you get to your toughest request — tell the agent that you’re so impressed with his or her service and knowledge so far that you’re going to write a positive letter or e-mail about your interaction to his or her supervisor as soon as you get off the phone. After getting the agent’s name and the supervisor’s contact information, you can then get to the more complex issues at hand. (Or, even easier, you can tell the person that you’re so happy with the service that you’d like to be transferred to the agent’s supervisor when you’re done so that you can pay the person a compliment.) Although there are a number of psychological reasons for why this might be an effective strategy, the norm of reciprocity — one of the best-studied norms in psychology — is a powerful factor here: You’ve offered to do a favor for that person, so now that person is going to be motivated to return the favor. So long as you follow through with your promise, the strategy is an ethical and effective one.

More importantly, offering praise should put you in a good mood, and not being an ass is one of single best ways to solve problems.

Trouble with customer service agents? Try this. [Psychology Today via BoingBoing]
(Photo: Getty)