How to get good customer service

How to get good customer service


6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - We've all probably had poor customer service at times, but experts say it may be happening more often.

With the current state of the economy, employees are taking on more tasks, and sometimes customer service training may fall to the wayside. Also phone service at businesses may be automated to free up employees' time.

But according to the Better Business Bureau, there are things consumers can do to get better service.

6 News asked consumers about their pet peeves. "A customer service pet peeve of mine is when they have no time for you. They've had a bad day, and it becomes your bad day," said Laura Tragesser.

"My pet peeve is when a customer service person just gives a regular, rehearsed response," Matt Fabian said.

Greater East Tennessee Better Business Bureau President Jerry Tipton says each day, they get at least a dozen complaints about different companies' customer service or the lack of it.

"That's what we're hearing a lot of, that there's no courtesy anymore. People don't say thank you. They don't care about you, and they don't care about your business," Tipton said.

Know exactly what it is you want before contacting a business.

The number one complaint when you call a business for help is that a real person rarely answers. You get a recorded message with several options.

However, there are ways to get around the automated system. "If you'll say something that's totally out of the ordinary, that the computer's not expecting, it will say, 'I'm sorry. I did not hear your response. I'll connect you with an operator,'" Tipton said.

He also says to hit zero repeatedly on the keypad, or stay silent. Often the computer connects you to a person.

If that doesn't work, the website has the unpublished numbers of hundreds of large companies.

But sometimes reaching a person by phone can lead to another problem, you're connected to someone outside the U.S.

"Generally it's India or South America," Tipton said. "You have the right to ask them to connect you with an American. Say I cannot understand you, and they have to do that."

When you reach someone you can understand, have a pen and paper ready and any information close by, like a receipt.

Write down the name of the people you talk to and what actions they take. Get information about the agent you're speaking to such as a badge number, employee ID and the call center location.

Always write down the date and time of the call.

"That way if you have a problem later, you can say I talked to so-and-so on this date and this is what they told me. That can get you further than you can imagine," Tipton said.

Consumers have customer service complaints about in-person experiences as well.

Rebecca Sanabria says all too often she feels ignored. "It goes in one ear and out the other. 'Oh yes, thank you for your opinion, ma'am. I'll be sure to get right on that or I don't have the power to do anything,'" she said.

But Khristian Pickett, who used to work in customer service, says that should never happen. "There's always a solution. There always is. There's no reason why we can't help the customer you know."

He says there are things customers can do to get better service. First, listen and be willing to compromise. "Just finding a medium between us and them so that we can meet in the middle," Pickett said.

Jerry Tipton says, always be nice and never use foul language as a customer. Also, ask to speak to a manager.

If you follow these tips and still don't get help, go online.

"One of the last resorts with Twitter and Facebook is that you can actually go in there and complain about the company. And if it gets back to the brass, heads will roll because that's there for the whole world to see," Tipton said.

You can also do what Rebecca Sanabria does and shop elsewhere. "How you were dealt with over the phone or in person is your first clue on whether or not to drop that business," she said.

Another tip, the Better Business Bureau recommends is calling the business in the morning between 7:00 and 10:00. This is normally when the more experienced, most knowledgeable agents are working because those are the most coveted shift start times.

Also, before dealing with a company you can check its reputation with the Better Business Bureau.

If you run a company, offer incentives for good customer service. If an employee receives positive feedback from a customer or client, offer an incentive like an award. Tipton says this motivation can be a very effective way to improve customer service.

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