Complaining sucks. Calling a technical support call center sucks. Asking for help and not getting it? Sucks.
But getting results is fun. Being cared for makes the sun shine. And knowing how to make good things happen can be downright exhilarating. It can also get you a better job, more money, a nicer table at a restaurant, or a new laptop after yours melts down. Perhaps just as cool, it can win you some credibility as someone who knows how to make things happen.
Of course, if you’ve never been able to talk your way out of a paper bag, you know all that stuff already. Thoughts of the rewards you never seem to be able to grasp haunt you in your sleep. But here’s something you may not know… it’s actually not that hard to get results when you complain. As a matter of fact, following just these four steps can turn you into a technical-support magician!
1. Know what your problem is.
Being able to precisely state why you’re calling will reduce frustrations and save a lot of time for you and the technical support agent. Saying, “My oven doesn’t work,” or “Your potato chips taste like a dog peed on them,” do not move things forward at all. Know the model name or number if you’re calling about a product, and be specific about what’s wrong. You’re already moving forward when your first sentence is, “The left front element on my Sears X4073-12 oven stops working whenever the heat is set above 6,” or “I bought a 400 gram bag of your plain potato chips, and they taste like a 120 lb. Rottweiler with dark brown eyes and who answers to the name ‘Suzie’ peed on them at about 10:15 this morning.” Now that’s precise.
2. Trust that the agent really is trying to help you.
No matter how frustrated you may be, remember that the odds are good that the company you’re calling does not want to waste its money or your time. They’d like to keep your business, and if they’ve invested in a call center, they want your problem fixed quickly so that their agents can move on to the next call. For these and other reasons, call centers agents generally undergo training, and calls will often be monitored to ensure the agents are handling things properly. So even if you don’t feel the agent is someone you’d like invite out to dinner, you can at least be assured that he or she wants to care for you quickly, so that the next performance evaluation will go well and their responses to you won’t be played for next year’s trainees in the sessions on, “What not to do.”
The more cooperative and less confrontational you can keep your call, the more inclined you both are to work together toward a happy solution. And keep in mind that, even if you really don’t like the company at this point, the person on the phone is probably not the person who actually broke your oven or owns the Rottweiler. Work together, and you’ll both be happier.
3. Ask to speak to a supervisor if you feel you have to.
As much as point #2 does carry a lot of truth, you will sometimes be stuck with an agent who really just doesn’t seem to get it. Perhaps an accent is so thick that you just cannot understand what is being said, or the attitude is just all wrong. Maybe you did hit that 1-in-10,000 agent who really should be looking for another line of work as a pro wrestler or the state executioner.
Even in those cases, all is not lost. Ask to speak to another agent or even the supervisor. This should at least let the agent know that they’re close to having another unresolved call on their record, and may motivate them to find you a happy solution quickly. And if your call does get transferred, you can start over again with someone with a fresh perspective. Just make sure the root cause of your frustration really is on the other end of the line before taking this route. As my Dad always said, “If everyone around you is an idiot, maybe the problem is not everyone around you.”
4. Know what you want.
Many people are surprised to discover that some call centers will actually ask them what they want to happen in order to resolve their complaints. That’s the moment of truth; if you have a reasonable solution in mind, the company will often see that as the best approach. They win a happy customer, and free up their call center agent to move on to the next call.
Sadly, this is where many callers let success slip away. Instead of having a wish list ready and getting things wrapped up quickly, they instead sit there for a moment of stunned silence, and then stammer, “I… I… I don’t know! Just fix the stupid thing!” More colorful variations of “stupid” will often be inserted; refer back to rule 2 above if you feel tempted to do so! You’re minutes away from success; don’t let things tumble backwards into a confrontation.
And there you go… four steps to to turn your nightmares in dealings with technical support call centers into dreams come true. Try them out and let us know how they work. Have your own success secrets? Why not share them? We’d love to hear what works for you!