Do you know how to deal with bad customer service?

@spalladino (17921)
United States
March 8, 2009 2:02pm CST
These days many companies outsource their customer service so there are often problems that the person on the other end of the phone can't or isn't willing to resolve. So, what do you do? One good idea that I heard about on the news is to go to the company's website (if they have one) and look for "Investor Relations" or something similar. What you're trying to find is a list of the names of officers within the company. You're also looking for the phone number for the company's headquarters. Then you call them and ask for one (or more) of the officers by name. You don't want to try to reach the CEO or any of the very higher ups because you're not going to be able to get past their secretary but a little bit farther down the food chain within the organization are people who you can reach. Has anyone tried this tactic before? It seems like a good way to get some action if Customer Non-Service can't resolve your problem. I've been unfortunate enough to reach customer non-service reps who spoke English so poorly that I couldn't begin to understand them and one man actually put me on hold and never returned. After waiting on hold for about 15 minutes I was disconnected...right at closing time. Anyone else have similar experiences and do you think you'll try going to headquarters the next time?
5 people like this
13 responses
@maenad (46)
• United States
8 Mar 09
Honestly, as a person who works in a call center, the best way to get good service is to be calm, polite, patient and know exactly why you are calling. We reps will often go out of our way to help good people. The people that yell and scream at us? Not so much. And don't call the CS line to try to get a much higher up -- we don't have their phone numbers. In my department, we send you to the corporate switchboard. Also, don't assume that just because your rep has an accent, that they are outsourced. My corporate office has a call center in El Paso Texas, where we have a lot of spanish speakers. The amount of people that are convinced that we sent them to another country is ASTOUNDING.
1 person likes this
@katsalot1 (1619)
8 Mar 09
I have had some very helpful people when I have phoned Customer Service with some companies, and it is great when someone is doing their job properly. I would never get angry with someone who is genuinely trying to help, and I wouldn't get angry with someone because I couldn't understand them. I do get angry with the people who employ them though, but you can't talk to them. Customer Service is supposed to be just that.
@maenad (46)
• United States
8 Mar 09
One of the problems I deal with though is that the people who are the angriest? Are asking us to do things that are impossible, or won't follow our directions. My worst was a woman who was directed to call us to confirm some account details for a billpayment that went wrong. So I asked her to confirm the numbers and details. And she flipped because she said she had no need to know any of that. ...Which were things like her account number for the place she was trying to pay. We do get legitimate angry customers -- we had a snafu with our debit company and things posted to accounts in staggering amounts (thousands of dollars; I work at a bank) and we can work with that very well. But then, in our line of business, we're considered to have top-notch service, so maybe that plays into it.
1 person likes this
@sandymay48 (2031)
• Canada
8 Mar 09
Hello there...One thing I really dont like is bad customer service...I think because of the advent of call centers, and a lot of people are undertrained before manning the phones, that the personal service and kindness has left from both ends, the customer themselves and the CSR. Back when you could contact a business directly, things were not so bad. Now many work from a script with a list of what they cant and cant do, no forgiveness, or exceptions. Everyone and their problems are the same..Check the list to see how to solve it..you dont even need to listen!!.. Now I am not just down on CSR's as I have also been one and still didnt like it. What you said about going on the internet and looking up a parent company, I have certainly done. Here in Canada, I can also contact the better business bureau in the area where the company is located and see if theres any complaints against them and also log one myself and have a mediator look into it. I totally understand the point of frustration when we have a problem, and the person on the other end does not speak english very well at all. This happens constantly here..Its like they are reading a script of what to say and dont understand a word I am saying.. I am not in the least prejudice, so dont get me wrong, but I dont think that people who cant speak english clearly, should be manning phones for an english speaking country. Its just asking for conflict and an unpleasant experience for both. I know I get really upset, when I cant understand and have to keep asking them to repeat...Im sure equally, they are frustrated with me as well. Although call centers have created many jobs, I think they are the most impersonal thing ever..They may be ok for placing an order, but not for resolving issues. Sorry to sound so bitter, but although I have worked in customer service myself..I have had many bad experiences. I personally love to help people, but dont beleive it can be done properly if not given the right resources to help with in the first place..or the proper knowledge and ability to speak the language clearly. And as for those automatic phone dialers..I think they should be banned!!
• Canada
8 Mar 09
and I almost forgot, we also have whats called the companys office here...It is a government thing where all businesses have to be listed along with the names of who owns it and the secretaries and other important people. It is public knowledge and I have used that as well
@jonesy123 (3949)
• United States
8 Mar 09
Customer service nowadays is a hit or miss. One rule is to understand that those you reach usually only have limited power, and also not necessarily know how to get you higher up. I like the investor relations idea, just so you can speak to somebody else than customer relations, but don't be surprised if they simply forward you to the regular customer service line. I have my share of experience with customer service, especially AT&T, which does have service centers in India. It's a nightmare. Some of the reps' English is so bad, I simply can't understand them, but are usually very polite. Unfortunately they provide fake names, and their supervisors, if indeed they are supervisors are a menace. When they are nice enough you finally get forwarded to a US call center, where they often are absolutely rude, because they hate to be bothered knowing that it's a problem call. In fact they have right out lied to me and when called on their lie simply hung up. My most recent experience was with DishNetwork. After the last storm apparently the dish holder got shifted and we had spotty reception of only a few channels at best, mostly the shopping channels (go figure). The rep was nice. He asked me to go through all the usual steps, even though I told him I had already done it. Then he asked me to do a switch check which takes several minutes. Well, he always checked how far along the check was, very nice. After I reported the result, he told be to cancel out of all of it, and then suddenly started ringing in the phone like it does when you call somebody and after a while I got the phone company message 'if you like to make a call, hang up and dial again'. In essence, I was hung up on. We eventually found a rep who immediately knew the problem and said that somebody had to come out and set up an appointment. As I said, it's hit and miss, some know what to do, others not. What bothers me more are the telemarketers who call us like just two days ago. The woman asked, "May I speak to (insert my husband's first name), please?" I politely answered that he wasn't at home at the moment and if I could take a message. She said, "Oh, just tell him Michelle called." Now we have gotten those phone calls before, and I know it's a telemarketing thing from a bank we have a loan with trying to get us to sign up for their credit card, get a mortgage whatever. But I dared to ask "Michelle who? What company are you working with?" That was in a nice and calm manner. But boy, she went off on me for yelling at her and that she doesn't have to take that from me. Then she said with a totally insulted voice that she would hang up now. I'm sorry what? Lady, you called my house. After that I was thinking, with all the lay-offs, shouldn't these people treat us better now? I mean shouldn't they be worried about losing their jobs? I figured the only good thing coming out of this recession and the many lay-offs right now would be that customer service would greatly improve after so many years of a downwards spiral in that area. I suppose it's hard to change an attitude after it has been ingrained for so many years and they got away with it for so many years.
• Omagh, Northern Ireland
8 Mar 09
I LOVE it that you got that telemarketers goat by asking for more info about her when She was trying to bypass you to get to Your Husband!
@KrauseHome (36682)
• United States
9 Mar 09
Well, unfortunately sometimes people do tend to hire people to work for them that may not always have someone's Best interesta at heart. I have talked to people before that have even been really Rude and such, and have wondered how they are able to keep their job, and have had to make a complaint in hopes of them having to loose their job. With the Economy the way it is right now, I would think that people would be more willing to out perform to keep a job, but sometimes I think we are seeing more of the other extreme. But personally I have had to go higher many times, and sometime unfortunately that is what it takes to get something done.
@mermaidivy (15404)
• United States
9 Mar 09
I used to work in customer services. I had pretty bad feeling that need to deal with the bad customers all the time but it was my job so I needed to be tough. I was pretty aggravated at first but after a while, I got used to it and was like Oh whatever... Because I figured if I kept saying sometihg, it just made the customers get angrier and angrier. The good thing of that job is I didn' tneed to face the customers, I was woking in a hotline dept.
9 Mar 09
In the UK we can go to Citizens advice, Watchdog, consumer advice.
@vicky30 (4771)
• India
9 Mar 09
If i had bad customer service i will try it for more two to three times.If there was still a problem i will try going to the nearest showroom to get my problem solved.IF there is a problem there also i will try going to the headquarters and making a complaint about the poor customer service.If the service person is working hard to solve the problem.I will not complain.
@jshekhar (1562)
• India
9 Mar 09
I have not faced much problems in this regard but if I would, I would take a somewhat similar course. I would look out for the contact details of the higher authorities. I admit that those high profile people do not give out their phone numbers on the websites but you can always find an e mail address of the concerned "support" staff, or a feedback section on their website. You can tell them about the bad service through that and then just hope that the service is improved. That is all one can do.
• United States
9 Mar 09
If a place has bad customer service then I refuse to do service with those people and I take my business elsewhere.
• China
9 Mar 09
Actually, I have never met such problems by now. If they happened, I would take the following steps, First, I will call another customer service if the first one can not answer my question. Second, if their attitude was bad and let me waiting the phone for a longtime, i will leave message on their website (if they have). Third, i will call their immediate superior. Fourth, i will go to their company personally. After all these were done, but still can not resolve the problems, i will not buy their products forever and i will also tell these to my freinds or write my experience on related websites.
@Opal26 (17684)
• United States
8 Mar 09
Hey spalladino! I have never tried this tactic, but it sure sounds like a more plausible solution! I get so fed up trying to deal with the non-customer service people who don't speak English or are rude and couldn't care less about helping you. That is when you can get to finally speak with a human! After spending I don't know how long pressing buttons to just get a human voice and then to not get any satisfaction it really can be so aggravating! I think you have a great idea there!
@jazzsue58 (2668)
8 Mar 09
I always send a really snotty letter to the senior management. But I'm also just as quick to reward good customer service with an equally nice letter.
@katsalot1 (1619)
8 Mar 09
That sounds like a good idea, although I haven't tried it. What you are describing about not being able to understand the people who are supposed to be helping you, and being hung up on happened to me so often with one phone and broadband provider that I had. The reason I went to them was because they were cheaper, but when I worked out how many days I had spent on the phone to them trying to get problems sorted out, I realised that it had cost me a fortune in time wasted. As soon as the contract ran out, I switched to someone else. Next time, if I have a similar problem. I will try your idea.