10 tips that have helped me in difficult customer service situations
Yesterday at the airport I almost had to pay for a carry-on that was already included in my ticket due to a series of miscommunications. Everything worked out eventually, thanks to a bit of persistence and following a whole lot of fretting. The experience got me thinking about customer service and how to best ensure a particular outcome. Here are a few tips that have worked for me in past situations.
1. Be polite and friendly
This is more of a given than a trick, and it probably goes without saying. People are more likely to help people they like.
2. Look humbled and ask for help
Many people love being of assistance to others. Asking for help is a good way to start off any customer service conversation because it actively reminds the other person that they are in a position where they can be helpful and where they have some power over things.
3. Don't focus too much on being right
At least, don't spend too much time talking about this in explicit terms. It may be true, but people don't like being told they're wrong (or that the party they represent is wrong) and can find it accusatory or provocative.
4. Prepare to have to wait, and look at the situation as an exercise in patience
It can take time to resolve simple matters.
5. Equip yourself with any critical info. you might need before talking to anyone
For me, that included flight information and purchase details.
6. Want something in particular? Ask.
Although it can take gumption, it just about never hurts. Ask explicitly for whatever it is you want and know how to articulate the outcome you're looking for.
7. Be actively helpful and solution-oriented while conversing.
Look things up that may be relevant; Google potential solutions.
8. Realize you may get a different answer when you talk to a different person
Hanlon's Razor applies. Always get a second opinion.
9. Don't do something permanent before getting it in writing/on the record
It's very easy for anything a person tells you to turn into a game of he-said she-said.
10. Remain calm. Everything will get sorted out.
I put this here because it's a good reminder, and I tend to get a bit worried in this type of situation.