4 simple tips for dealing with big companies

For my first post, I thought I would provide some basic, tangible tips. This post is focused on getting the most out of first line support at large companies. Too often these simple tactics are overlooked:

  1. Use email when dealing with a large company on a contract, billing or customer service issue. The “paper trail” is so critical in these cases. 
    1.  Months later when your contract changes without warning, you need to rely on your interactions with the company as proof of your agreement. Companies change billing details (whether by accident or on purpose) without warning and the burden of proof is on you. 
    2. You don’t have to sit on hold for hours only to get an uncaring rep or be disconnected. This will add to your frustration and in some cases cause you to give up.
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  3. Don’t rely on the support rep to document your case. If you have to call in, keep records of call time, date, length, and nature of the call. Document the name of the support rep, their ID# and general location (New Brunswick, Bangalore, or Barcelona ). Large companies usually have more than one call centre. Getting the name “Steve from Bell” is not enough. “Steve ID #45738 from Bell call centre in Bangalore” will help to track down the agent if needed. It also holds more weight to any conversation you may have had if you have to call in again.
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  5. Be polite! In general, customer support reps are not making much money and are dealing with a less than ideal office environment. Support departments are a cost centre for big businesses, so they don’t have the best equipment and tools. The agents have been dealing with many customer issues and complaints before you get to them. Usually the customers that they have dealt with previously were not calling or emailing to compliment them! They are people too. Hearing a calm voice/email of reason is much more likely to get the agent on your side. It helps to have the agent be your advocate should your issue require approval or escalation.
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  7. Be firm and get to the point. Give a brief history, explain what the issue is, and specify exactly what you want. The support rep will appreciate not having to listen to a monologue or have to read an essay. Support reps tend to skip over long essays when trying to resolve emails. If it takes longer to read, it’s going to take longer to resolve, and it will impact their performance.

Are there any basic tips that anyone out there can share?

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2 Responses to 4 simple tips for dealing with big companies

  1. Mike R says:

    Definitely be polite, (as hard as that may be sometimes, especially when dealing with the big companies). I also like to try and put the customer service rep in my shoes, ex. Recently I was dealing with XM Radio, signing up for another year. Doing a quick google search I was able to see that a lot of people when getting service for less then what they were offering it to me for. The phone rep insisted this deal didn’t exist or was a US deal only. I “nicely” told him it was Canadian sites I was on and even gave him the links (another good tip I think was mentioned, be prepared, with proof), then through in a “How would you feel if you knew all these people were paying $50 less then you?” He obviously started to see my point. Deal was granted.

    • Support Spy says:

      @Mike R: That’s a good point. Getting the support rep to acknowledge what they would expect as a customer will help, especially when you do it in a “nice” way. I’m happy to hear that XM Radio gave their support rep the authority to match the offer since Sirius XM is the only satellite radio game in town.

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