Now, we’re here….Yep, right here. Here is the top, duh. Ok, let me give you some background on what exactly here/the top is, and why we’re here. As a wife, a mother, an employee and a consumer, I interact with people all the time. You probably do too. There are rare occasions where I have a moment to myself, but for the most part I don’t. During these interactions, there are sometimes events that take place where I need a situation or problem corrected. I may need answers to questions. And if the person I am talking to at the time is unable to provide me those answers or correct my situation, well then…. I need to go to the top.
I’ve worked in customer service since I was 14. Even after graduating college, I found myself back in the customer service industry…except this time it’s with federal contract oversight of very large federal contact center. Our group’s major task is to make sure the customers experience is pleasant, while also giving them correct information.
As a consumer, I expect that same experience. But I am sure like many of you, there comes times where you are given correct information and you find yourself arguing with a representative about what the correct answer is.
Like the time I contacted my cell phone provider about an error on my bill. The agent told me that although I didn’t authorize a service on my account, they would not reimburse me for the charge. They would only remove the service and not charge me in the future. This was a service that they showed that I never used, and admitted that it may have been a glitch as to why it was there. I didn’t argue, I asked for the number to corporate. Within a week I had the fees credited back to my account, as well as a courtesy credit on my account for the inconvenience.
As a mom & wife, I find myself on the battlefield more time than I’d like to count, justifying why certain things are not acceptable for my child (or any child) or my family.
For example, my daughter’s high school schedule had her going to three classes between the hours of 9am to 2p, with no lunch break at all. When I spoke with her counselor, I was told there was simply nothing they could do since the schedule was already created. I calmly said, “OK. Can I please get the information for someone at the school that has the authority to make these changes?” I also wrote emails to other higher up figures in the County and charged them all to have a productive work day without eating lunch until 2p. I wanted them to make sure that they understood that the state of mind they were in was ridiculous, and I wasn’t going to set my child up for unhealthy eating habits because of an error on the schools part. Two days later, my daughter’s schedule was miraculously changed.
I actually prefer not to go to the top. I like getting my issues dealt with at the ground level. Corporate and other higher level ups prefer that approach as well. Heck, that’s why they pay them… to prevent second call resolution scenarios. Most representatives of a company or organizations are usually equipped with ways to handle and deescalate a situation, but when they don’t know their own “super” powers, they create turmoil.
So what do you do when you’re at your wits end with a representative, teacher, counselor, etc?
Below are the steps I usually follow as I start from the bottom and end up “here”:
Keep Calm & Handle Your Sh*t
Speak calmly to the representative and explain your situation. Explain why you think your situation is unique, and let them know that you are sensitive to the fact that they probably hear [insert complaint] all the time.
A lot of times, empathy will kick in and the person will see what they can do to help you out. It’s happened a lot for me. Everyone deserves respect, and respect includes speaking in a calm & collect manner.
The Writing’s On The Wall
Get everything in writing. Sometimes you get a rep that just doesn’t know the rules. I’ve seen in countless times where the rep thinks one rule or guidance applies to it all. So I’ll likely hang up, and ask the same question over chat or email. I also ask for any correspondence to be notated in my file. I want everything documented, and you should too. This helps build your case if it needs to go higher up the chain. Nothing worse is trying to prove “he say; she say”.
I Wanna Talk to Sampson!
You can always ask to speak to a supervisor or manager. It’s fine to ask so! You don’t have to be rude. I usually say “Well, maybe there is something your manager can do that you may not have the authority to do”. A lot of times, that’s exactly the case. In the instance that the manager still cannot help you, at least it is documented that you requested their assistance and it goes in your file.
Put Pen to Pad
If all else fails, and you’ve tried to resolve your issue, then it’s time to go above everyone’s head. *Note if there is an Ombudsman office, I recommended going that route first! They are trained to help resolve questions/issues and serve as a great resource.
My style is to typically write a letter to not only corporate, but also to the Better Business Bureau. I think the companies prefer you don’t go to the BBB, but I do both. A lot of times, when you write a letter to the corporate office, there is a customer liaison that is assigned to your case. Once I’ve had my issue resolved, I am happy and go about my business.
Other things you can do is reach out via social media if that business has that channel available. You don’t need to blast them, you can simply say “I need assistance” and they will usually DM you right away. I’ve posted tweets on Twitter talking about a service or product and have had the company reach out to me. In those instances, I’m not looking for anything, I’m simply letting my frustrations out. It never hurts to voice your opinion, as long as it’s tactful.
I will admit, I am NOT always calm…ask my husband. The other day I literally got a crick in my neck from holding back my cuss out for someone. LOL! It ended up working out in my favor, but I have a short fuse. I’ve been working on it because I’ve learned all the screaming in the world isn’t going to do anything but get the cops called on you.