Dealing with customer service can be a frustrating experience, from not being able to communicate efficiently with the support rep, to the rep quoting company policy. In many instances company policies may be understood, but may be totally unfair. In other cases, you acknowledge that it is your problem, but ask for an exception for your situation. In all cases, you are getting nowhere with the support rep and right or wrong, you are looking for a little customer satisfaction.
Many companies train their support staff in handling angry customers, as well as preventing escalations. In addition to this, others, especially large companies, have trigger words/policies and won’t escalate until they satisfy all conditions.
A widely used policy is the “Supervisor x3”. A support rep will not escalate your call, email or in-person issue until you have requested a supervisor or manager 3 times. For the purposes of this post, I will talk about the phone request. A typical request would be something like “We are getting nowhere with this. You are not listening to me. Can I speak to your manager?” The response would sound something like this: “I understand your frustration and wouldn’t want this to happen to me. First I would like to discuss/try something before escalating your concern”. Another oft used response is “My supervisor is in a meeting/not here/not available, but I can get them to call you back later. In the meantime, I’m sure we can come to an agreement.”
Do not settle for these responses if you want to escalate your issue! You are entitled to speak to a point of escalation. What I typically do is politely let the support rep know that I am not satisfied, and that I want to be escalated. By this time, if you have read my other posts, you have the rep’s name and means of identification. This is important in case they decide to disconnect your call.
If the support rep tries to give me a line, I repeat my request with something like, “I think we have done all we can, and would like to be escalated immediately”, and after being fed another softening statement, I repeat my request a third time. If you are calm and collected, you are more likely to be transferred to a supervisor than be deflected to a call back. The call back is used as a cooling off period to ensure that you do not continue to be angry with the supervisor.
If you are still told that the support rep’s supervisor is unavailable, tell them you are willing to wait on the phone until one becomes available, or alternatively, you would like to be escalated another level up (supervisor’s manager).
Once you do get someone on the line, be sure it is, in fact a point of escalation. Another process employed by many companies is “escalating” to a colleague. A support rep will transfer the call to a colleague who will impersonate a supervisor or manager. So again, be sure to collect the name, position and means of identifying the new person. It will quickly become apparent whether it is another support rep or a supervisor.