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  • How to get the best customer service

    Many of us have dealt with Tech support for ISP, Hardware Vendors, and the phone company. Sometimes it sucks.

    There are times when I want to get better service from customer service but I don't know what approach is best.
    In some cases, experience says being inconsiderate, rude, intollerant and verbally displeased is very effective at getting discounts and sometimes leads to faster resolution.
    In other cases, being nice seems to lead to faster resolution, and customer service people more willing to "go the extra mile."

    Assuming you choose, how do you choose to deal with Customer Service?
    What works for you? What does not work?

    "Your call is very important to us. Please hold."

  • #2
    On my last job I had to deal with security guards all the time. First thing I did was become their friends. I would ask if they saw the Laker game, how much time off they got, etc. No matter what they say I agree with them.

    Take the same approach with tech support. While they are looking up your waranty, ask where they are, what the weather is like, where they are from. Once I said, "My mother is from there too!" When they said what part, Google gave me the perfect map and we talked about "the old times in the neighborhood." I ended up getting all new parts real fast. :>

    If they are in a fighting mood right away just learn to change them around. Google for "Interpersonal communications" and see what you can do.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by TheCotMan
      Many of us have dealt with Tech support for ISP, Hardware Vendors, and the phone company. Sometimes it sucks.

      There are times when I want to get better service from customer service but I don't know what approach is best.
      In some cases, experience says being inconsiderate, rude, intollerant and verbally displeased is very effective at getting discounts and sometimes leads to faster resolution.
      In other cases, being nice seems to lead to faster resolution, and customer service people more willing to "go the extra mile."

      Assuming you choose, how do you choose to deal with Customer Service?
      What works for you? What does not work?

      "Your call is very important to us. Please hold."
      I just am prepared to speak a language that is sure as hell not English. On the other hand I have never really had too many serious problems with customer support the only company I refuse to deal with is Compaq their customer support is atrocious and being nice wont get you diddly. If a band really wanted to become well known they should get a contract with Compaq to have their music played instead of the "Please Hold, you call is important to us" spiel. As long as their transfers last I guarantee I would have the whole song memorized by the time I got help or transferred again.
      Did Everquest teach you that?

      Comment


      • #4
        Check this out.. this last week, my house received no less than 40 calls from a 800 number. Everytime they asked for me, they were told I was not here. Over and over they called, sometimes 8 times in 1 day. One evening they called every hour.
        They were asked what they wanted, and they would not disclose the reason they were calling.

        I called the companys main number twice, attempting to stop the calls, they removed me from the calling list, and then removed me from a 2nd list. The calls continued..

        Today I was actually home when they called. I answered, chewed the hell out of the guy calling, and asked what the hell was so important they call every damn hour. His response "We are just calling to welcome you as a customer, and to make sure there is nothing else we can do to help you"

        It rather blew my mind.. That my whole household had become pissed off, because they wanted to welcome me as a customer. I told him, yeah you can
        quit calling my damn house.

        He seemed eager to hang up after that.. but read me a quick disclosure about how even though my number was removed I may receive calls for 30 days.

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        • #5
          The best way to get good customer service is to avoid calling Apple support for any reason. Dicks.
          perl -e 'print pack(c5, (41*2), sqrt(7056), (unpack(c,H)-2), oct(115), 10)'

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          • #6
            From time to time I have to be the tech support person that accepts calls. I work in the main office of a medical facility with several remote offices. I am nice to the people even when others probably wouldn't be nice. Most of the employees within our organization are women (Nurses, Medical Assistants, Registration Clercks, etc.). There are about 300 employees in the main office...only 27 of them are guys. I hate it because some of them think they can be really nice to me to get special treatment, like alowing them open access through Websence, or access to a resource that they think they need without the proper security forms being submitted.

            I worked as a software liason for a large bank once. We dealt with 20 or so tax software companies, and the users (accounting firms) of the tax software. We were told that if we get a call in which the accountant becomes unreasonable, we could forward the call to our supervisor, or refuse to speak to the offending individual until they could control themselves. Luckily I didn't recieve any calls like that.

            In general I will be as nice as possible when I have to call a support line, but I don't expect anything more than due process. Those guys (myself included) expect to hear a few complaints, as long as it doesn't get personal.

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            • #7
              I cannot speak for cheap labor in India, but with true customer support...

              1) Don't call in with an attitude unless the attitude is deserving. A good support person wants to help solve your problem, that is their basic job and they are given a basic construct for accomplishing that. Making their life difficult from the get-go is just going to make them want to help *you* less.

              2) If you don't know something, admit it, but you don't have to spend every other sentence explaining how stupid you are. You are calling for help to resolve something you haven't been able to fix on your own, that is already established. The person on the other end should be capable of helping you whether you are a rocket scientist that has used computers since they filled large rooms, or grandma trying to send an email to her kids.

              2a) DON'T BE STUPID. Someone completely ignorant of a subject can be completely walked through complex tasks that they do not understand at all and they might be otherwise be a bright person with a PHd saving your ass from a brain tumor. Stupid people are VERY difficult to help because they don't listen, they don't do what they are asked, and generally become defensive about things they shouldn't.

              3) Listen. You called for help, the other person is going to grasp and troubleshoot your situation the best they know how. When they ask you to do something, do that, and NOTHING else. If you know where they are going and jump 5 steps ahead then fine, but MOST people that do this have no clue what they are trying to accomplish and end off in some other area of the problem that has nothing to do with the troubleshooting in progress. This just annoys the person trying to help you and and takes considerably longer to fix what was probably a simple issue. Don't feel threatened if they are walking you baby steps through something.. your [man|woman]hood is not in question. If they catch on that you can be trusted with larger steps, they will adjust their methods. Also, blabbing about every other topic in the book is just annoying if it isn't casual talk to fill a waiting period. The person on the phone, while often personable and kind, DOES NOT GIVE A FUCK ABOUT YOU, YOUR DOG, OR THE GRANDMOTHER YOU RODE IN ON. Sorry folks, it is a job, you are a problem, and their goal is to fix it as soon as possible.

              4) Answer their questions to the best of your ability and answer them truthfully. Do what they say, even if you know it is something you already did or you don't think it will solve your problem. They are completely a checklist of possibilities in their mind to solve your mystery. False information will not fix your problem and if the truth is discovered later or (either by covert means or through admitting it) you will be on said shitlist and probably less likely to receive good help.

              5) Don't expect them to support something outside of their support bounds. Don't call Apple about a problem with your Dell laptop being able to connect to your iBook. Well... Apple support sucks.. don't call Apple. If you are calling an ISP because you can't get on the Internet (T1, DSL, ISDN, whatever), they are not going to a) fix your computer, it's OS, or software that you installed b) write your Cisco router config because you are a consultant charging large amounts of money to do stuff you don't have a friggin clue about c) troubleshoot a firewall that you installed but do not understand at all (or worse, think you understand but really don't). Insisting your firewall is not blocking ICMP does not make it fucking so. Pushing a non-support issue with the person on the phone will not magically get you support from them, it will just piss them off and work more craftilly to get you off the phone. They can only recommend contacting the source of support that you should have called in the first place. OTOH (in accordance with this thread), if you are completely levelheaded and follow the suggestions above, and you get the right support person, they might just walk you completely configuring your router and network because they can, even though by company policy they are not supposed to.
              Last edited by converge; October 29, 2005, 12:40.
              if it gets me nowhere, I'll go there proud; and I'm gonna go there free.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TheCotMan
                In some cases, experience says being inconsiderate, rude, intollerant and verbally displeased is very effective at getting discounts and sometimes leads to faster resolution.
                In other cases, being nice seems to lead to faster resolution, and customer service people more willing to "go the extra mile."
                I think which approach you use depends on what you are after. If you are looking for support directly from the representative (e.g., technical support, updating account information), then you should be nice to that person. If you are merely using the representative to get support from the company (e.g., RMAs, getting compensation for screw-ups), then being rude tends to yield results. (After all, their work is typically clerical in the latter case, and you want to encourage their desire to get rid of you as fast as possible.)

                Note that I don't encourage being rude to people, but I'm not going to deny that it yields results, either.

                Originally posted by allentrace
                their customer support is atrocious and being nice wont get you diddly
                You know the corporate line: If you spend money creating a good service, then more people will use that service and the costs will increase. If you save money by creating a poor service, then people will refuse to use that service and drive costs down.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Voltage Spike
                  You know the corporate line: If you spend money creating a good service, then more people will use that service and the costs will increase. If you save money by creating a poor service, then people will refuse to use that service and drive costs down.
                  That's not entirely true. Speakeasy has probably the best ISP support and they're making good money. Lots and lots of people are switching over to speakeasy here in California based just on the good service. Sure they might be getting more calls, but not EVERYONE calls, and for the 2/3 people that call, 10 users have signed up to their service. Corporations are stupid in the way that they seek short term profits. Speakeasy has acknowledged they can get profit in the long run if they sacrifice here and now.
                  Delicious Poison:

                  The difference between a nerd and a geek? Well a nerd does not wear Spider Man butt huggers.

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                  • #10
                    I think some of the best things to remember is that
                    1 sometimes, there really is NOTHING they can do about your particular problem
                    2 they didn't directly do the things to offend or cause your current problem so be nice, they will do their best to fix the issue
                    3 A little patience goes a long way, sometimes they have to look up current policies to find a resolution.
                    Go catch a falling star.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Chris
                      The best way to get good customer service is to avoid calling Apple support for any reason. Dicks.
                      Maybe they are mad that you went with the 90 day tech support instead of the one year gimme more money support.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by astcell
                        Maybe they are mad that you went with the 90 day tech support instead of the one year gimme more money support.
                        You notice how many restrictions and disqualifying offenses there are in those supposedly cover all the problems you can conceivably have protection plans.
                        Did Everquest teach you that?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by klepto
                          Speakeasy has probably the best ISP support and they're making good money.
                          While that's true, Speakeasy's also screwing themselves over by not being realistic about their pricing. I can get the same package as I have right now with Speakeasy for about two-thirds the price from Pac Bell less the shell accont - and big whoop on that, it's not like I don't have shell access to my home.

                          Further, Speakeasy's sales people are a pack of fucking idiots. I called them a couple of months ago to ask if they could offer me a rate competitive with what the telco offers; the woman on the other end of the phone was extremely rude to me, taking a 'how dare you ask such a question' approach right off the bat, and her supervisor wasn't much better. I sent a letter to the company and never received so much as a phone call, let alone a reply. Gee, thanks for extending me the privilege of taking my money for over two years, assholes.

                          Since support isn't really much of an issue for me beyond 'are you guys having issues right now', I could really care less about it most of the time. That the ISP has good uptime and competitive rates counts for a lot more in my book. I'll be moving back to the telco for DSL as soon as the time's right.

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