To Resolve Some Customer Service Problems, Just Call Back

When people submit their complaints to our site after a single interaction with customer service, we often ask, “Did you try calling or e-mailing back to get someone else?” It sounds deceptively simple, so simple that you might not even bother trying it. You should. It happens to work. Sometimes.

Reader Rich employed this method (is there even enough to it to call it a “method”?) when he had a problem with Hampton Inn. He needed to re-book some travel to reschedule and to use his rewards points, but reservations representatives he spoke with told him that wasn’t possible, and he might lose his existing reservation by rescheduling. So he called back later…and got someone who had worked there longer and knew how to make the scheduling system bend to his will.

You’ve sometimes mentioned that calling customer support a second time and speaking to a different person might get you better results. It certainly did for me tonight. I had two nights booked at the same Hampton Inn but a week apart, one using reward points and one paid. My travel plans changed such that I needed a different location on the first (points) nights and I wanted to see if I could just modify my existing second (paid) night to use the points instead. The first person I talked to at their 800 number said that you can’t do that, you have to release the old reservation and book again. Ok, except that they didn’t have any more rooms of that type available, and she couldn’t guarantee that my just-released room would come up for reservation immediately. She suggested calling the hotel directly, which I did, and got a similar story — except the desk guy said that the 800 reservations people should call him and they’d try to work things out amongst themselves.

So I call the 800 reservations line a second time. This time I explain what I want, what the desk clerk suggested, and why. The guy on the phone said that he thought he could just change the payment type directly and save the hassle — and in 5 seconds proceeded to do just what two other people said couldn’t be done. His reasoning? He’d been working there longer and knew the tricks of the system. Finding the right person definitely paid off this time.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.