Put this one in the category of, “He had me with headline.” What I am referring to is a recent posting by Timothy Stenovac of The Huffington Post titled, “The Trick to Never Getting Screwed by Terrible Customer Service.” Unfortunately, the cuffs don’t match the collar in this case, and the advice fell way short of expectations.
Ever since the recording by an angry Comcast customer of his less-than-wonderful attempt to just cancel his cable service went viral a few weeks ago, the Internet has been flooded with similar recordings. It seems that the oft-cited saying, “Revenge is a dish best served cold,” has become all the rage as frustrated callers try public shame as their means to get companies to “improve the customer experience” when we deal with their contact center agents.
The problems, as the Stenovac article and a YouTube piece on this explain, are:
Recording, as the posting also notes, is only valuable if there are liability issues involved in your reason to contact the company in the first place. The reality is that almost any contact center these days faithfully records every call (or any other type of contact), and unless you’re paranoid and think they will doctor your interactions should your issue go to court, those interactions have been saved and stored.
The bottom line is that recording is not the trick for “never getting screwed by terrible customer service.”
At the most it will make us feel good that we got it off our chest. The probability of recording and posting the conversation actually solving an urgent problem is slim to none. Plus, the probability of the company you called changing its behavior is not much higher unless the threat is substantiated by things like customer boycotts. If you want to get even, the only place is in the pocketbook.
So what works?
With the caveat that there are no sure things in life, but there are ways to increase the chances of getting somebody to help, from years of expediting my own issues I have two suggestions for everyone.
In the U.K. there is a very popular campaign that shows up on billboards, t-shirts, etc.
Once you lose your temper things escalate and will typically get you no satisfaction. Screaming is not an effective means to obtain cooperation.
The second strategy is to find out at the start of an interaction whether the person you are interacting with has the discretion to resolve your problem. I am constantly amazed at how little power the people I interact with in the first instance have when questions of company policy are involved. There is one magic word to end the resulting waste of your time: SUPERVISOR! You’d be surprised at the results.
Finally, I always get the name and callback number of anyone I talk to and write them down. Recordings are one thing, but having the ability to ping the person who said they were going to help but then do not do so in a timely fashion is faster and significantly more effective.
Good luck and good expediting. Luck is important and should not be underestimated, since your experience is definitely a function of that individual at the other end and whether they have the knowledge and are empowered to solve your problem. This does not mean you will not get “screwed”, but at least you will have a fighting chance.