Why Customer Service Reps Love Me

by Dan on August 12, 2009


If you search any major company online with phone support, you will find dozens of consumer horror stories.  Someone will find out their credit card was mischarged, resulting in bitter outrage.  The person will then call the hotline and be put on hold twenty minutes before being connected with a representative who barely passed 10th grade.

From there, the story usually involves a refund refusal, plus long argument about why the charges make sense.

If the customer service rep is particularly ballsy, he or she might even try to upsell the angry customer on more services.

“Let me speak to your manager!” will surely be heard somewhere down the line, and this will not be an easy request to fulfill.  Maybe a manager will get on the phone eventually and offer a partial refund.  The manager might go all the way, or just refuse anything all together and be perfectly ok with you canceling your service and blabbing on the internet about what horrible people they are.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I’m going to show you an easy system to get what you want with customer service reps.  If you follow what I say here, everything will just fall into place when you need their assistance.

Principle 1:  The issue wasn’t intentional.

Assume that the company isn’t trying to screw you over.  It could have been an accounting slip or computer bug.  Yes, some companies do try to screw you, but even the shadier ones will be more likely to help if they think you believe in their integrity.

Principle 2:  Whomever you’re talking to on the phone is innocent of all charges.

I used to work at a Cingular Wireless store and have to field a number of complaints.  The situation that would baffle me the most would be when an angry lady came in, slammed her papers on the table, and yelled, “You screwed up my bill!”  She’d glare into my eyes like I was the son of the devil, causing untold misery everywhere I went.

Did she actually think I had looked at her cell phone minutes, taken my calculator out, and put together her phone bill?  I was a 21 year old sales representative.  It doesn’t take much intelligence to consider that your phone bill is not being calculated in the same store you bought the phone in.

I still did the best I could to help her, but it honestly made it more difficult to work with her.  Anger was clouding her comprehension, so I had to repeat myself on a couple issues.  Sometimes she would mishear me and think I was denying her something I was actually giving her.

Customer Service reps can intuitively sense that they’re not being heard, and it makes it difficult for them to work with you.  Additionally, there are a quite a few reps that will make a decision not to bother helping you once you make it clear you’re not cooperating.  While you can’t always present the problem without the company being at fault, you can and should always absolve the employee of the error.  Put him or her in the position of correcting a mistake corporate made, not contributing to it.

Principle 3:  Only use the word “manager” if absolutely necessary.

I worked in a call center before, and you are highly, highly discouraged from putting a customer on with your manager.  The manager is running around handling problems far bigger than someone’s four dollar overcharge, so an employee has to really pick his or her battles before calling a manager.  A customer service rep must be able to handle situations on his or her own, or this is clearly not the job for them.

Because of this, I make sure I exhaust all possible options with the person I’m talking to.  The customer service rep might offer you 50% back, and you’ll ask for more.  She might say, “Sorry, the most I’m authorized to give you is 50%.”

That is your opening.

“Ok, that makes sense.  What did you say your name was again?”…<she answers>… “Ok… Tracy… (write her name down or pause as if you are), if you are unable to do this, who is the next person up who can?”

She will say it’s her manager or shift supervisor, and then you can ask to speak to that person.  If she refuses, coolly say, “Ok Tracy, you said this call was recorded earlier.  Are you refusing to connect me with your manager?”  You don’t have to mention the call being recorded.  Only do this for extra leverage if you need it, and if you are sure it is being recorded (they’ll usually tell you up front).

She won’t want to say yes.  Instead she’ll find a way to get you to her supervisor.  From there, you repeat the process until you either have your refund or are sent up to the next level.  Worst case scenario, they’ll say, “What, you want to talk to the CEO?”  You just make your statement, “<name>, are you refusing to let me contact your supervisor?”  EVERYONE has a supervisor, unless it’s a tiny company.  Then you just might be out of luck.

You have to be extremely calm and collected during all of these conversations.  No threatening to cancel your service, no lawsuit talk, and no insults.  You have to remain as calm as if this was monopoly money you were talking about.  You also cannot sound arrogant or cocky, as if you’re going to win a “battle” with them.

However, all of what I mentioned is unnecessary to think about if you just go into this being positive in the first place.

I’ll give you a real world example from yesterday.

Looking at my bank statements, I discovered that I’d been charged $15 a month for four months by a company I never wanted anything to do with.  I had signed up for free shipping on an order for a fruit basket, and got tricked into hitting a button that charged my credit card for a bunch of junk by an affiliate company.

They owed me $62 altogether.

I was a bit nervous at first because I had read so many reviews about this firm.  I read reports of being denied any money at all, being on the phone for hours arguing with managers, nothing pleasant.  I wanted to be in a good frame of mind so I meditated for twenty minutes before calling.

Doing what Larry Crane said in the Release Technique, I sent the company love during my meditation.  I felt genuine love for them, their product and everyone working there.

By the time I called, I was feeling extremely positive and in a good mood.  A lady named Gloria picked up and said, “Hello, how may I help you?”

I thanked her for picking up and asked how her day was.  She said “Great, thank you for asking.  What can I help you with?”

I said, “Well Gloria, here is my situation.  I bought a fruit basket in April from XYZ Company.  While checking out, I clicked a button for free shipping and by no fault of your company, got shanghaied into four months of your service.”

I was going to continue, but she quickly asked me what my name and zip code was so she could look up my account.

“Daniel, we see you have spent $62 with us since April.  I will have that returned to your account right away.”

No objections, no questions, nothing.

It was unbelievable how easy it was, considering how bad the company’s reputation was from what I had read.

I thanked her and we hung up.

When someone is being negatively judged hundreds of times a day by people left and right, it really stands when someone approaches them with love.  It’s a breath of fresh air, and all they want to do is help this person.  It is in these cases where the grocery cashier hits the “employee discount” button for your purchase, or upgrades you to first class for free at the airport.  For me, it was just a hassle-free refund.

See no one as your opposition.  Find harmony with others, even those whose interests seem to be directly counter to your own.  It all works out when you handle things with a heart of inner peace.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Konstantinos October 29, 2013 at 6:23 pm

This Article rocked man!

I actually used it to bypass some problems my online merchant company had caused me and it worked like a miracle.

Dan is the man and Dan’s word is gold!

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