Tip & How-To about Computers & Internet

How do I get what I want from customer service?

We all enjoy services like internet, cell, cable, satellite- however we hate dealing with tech support and customer service.
Multiple factors include the wait time, foreign call centers, perception of inexperience- and rude agents.
How do I get what I want?
For one thing: Be Polite. Yelling at the agent only makes the agent try and find ways to make your life even more miserable- Think how you would respond to someone screaming at you over something you have next to zero control over- it isn't pleasant!
If you are clear with what you want, be it resolution of a billing issue, service went down, or a complaint through service- it tends to smooth the way if you are calm and rational.
Have your documentation/ device that is failing near you
This is often overlooked- however, especially in issues where it's a billing error, having the documentation is essential.
Let's contrast two scenarios: Customer A has been getting overcharged for a cellphone. He has gotten the original contract with the stated monthly price, and has multiple bills showing the correct amount. He contacts customer services and advises of the issue. On the phone, he is polite to the agent, and states clearly that on X month he was overcharged Y amount of dollars. The agent then goes ahead and processes the credit, which then generates the reference number, and the agent advises of the time frame. Customer A documents the reference number- and in the time-frame provided by the agent receives the credit.
Customer B also got overcharged- however did not have the documentation handy when he placed the call- He then promptly swore at the agent stating that the agent was incompetent for not having his records handy. The agent advised Customer B to stop using harassing language- Customer does not think this is a warning, and continues. The agent then disconnects the call, and Customer B is now flagged as an abusive customer.
This is simplified- however similar scenarios have happened daily.
In my personal life, I had purchased a system that had about $250 in rebates. Now, the moment I got the system, I made 2 copies of the invoice, printed the rebate form and sent out the rebate with a copy of the invoice via certified signature required mail. I retained my invoice, which showed the rebate amount. I had the rebate form copy. I also had the signature receipt showing that I sent the letter, and that the letter was signed for at the rebate processing company. I checked the status, and when I noticed that it said it had not received my rebate (I had the signature receipt in hand!) I contacted customer service for that company. When they stated that it could be in processing and to check the status on the website, I politely stated "I have the signature receipt where someone signed for the letter, however the system does not show my rebate was ever received. If you wish, I would be happy to fax that to you right now" The agent then promptly credited the purchasing credit card for the full amount of the rebate- and provided a reference number. I documented this, and true enough, the next statement showed the credit on the credit card's statement.
How I achieved this is through 3 things: I was polite, I had my documentation, and I had already done the research.
The saying is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure- an ounce of politeness with an ounce of preparation and research meant I had the credit in the full amount of the rebate in 2 weeks versus fighting w/ the PC company and the rebate company for months.
The same goes for hardware- if you've had an intermittent issue, it makes troubleshooting easier if instead of "it drops" you have "it drops mostly when it rains. I powercycle and it comes back on for about 2 minutes, then drops again"
So, to summarize:
If you have to call customer service, call when you have time to work with the agent. Be Polite! Have your documentation of the problem at hand (billing statements, service contracts, log of what issues you have, whatever) Be clear cut in what you want- the clearer the communication, the easier it is to get what you want out of the call Document Document Document! Oh, in case you forgot- DOCUMENT!
By doing these things- you will not only have a less stressful call- you will have a more productive call. (and you won't have to call back!)

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