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How to Achieve Results from Customer Service

It helps to be patient and polite when complaining to customer service about their shoddy company. There's an art form involved in making a complaint -- here's how to navigate the system.


  • Step 1: Know what you want the outcome to be. Be civil, yet forceful and insistent, with your requests, and you have a shot at getting them fulfilled.
  • Step 2: Ask for help if you're not seeing any resolution in your situation. Assistance could come from a variety of sources, such as your credit card company if you dispute the charge, the media if you go public with your plight, or your government representative if you need help at a grassroots level. Consider hiring a lawyer if you need a dedicated defender.
  • FACT: Communication companies and banks are ranked near the bottom of admired companies in 2010 surveys.
  • Step 3: Learn how to wait on hold for minutes, possibly hours. Companies have perfected the art of wearing you down with mind-numbing music. Stay strong and consider a using portable phone or a headset.
  • TIP: Send any relevant correspondence via certified mail. That way you have an undeniable record.
  • TIP: Know your rights. Be an informed consumer and read up on what the law does and doesn't allow.
  • Step 4: Use a camera to take pictures, research the company online, or look up previous complaints -- but do what you can to show that this happened to you and possibly to many others. Be sure you're able to concisely explain your story in context.
  • Step 5: Learn how to navigate up a company's phone tree -- many companies try to hide behind convoluted voice mail systems. If you don't get anywhere, use a computer to search online for the head honcho's contact information and send an e-mail outlining your complaint.

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