Every 1-800 number has a human being behind it (once you hit the four hundred buttons to get to them). That means you’re dealing with fellow creatures that are sometimes new on the job, stressed, badly trained or not empowered to really take care of your issue. So, if you call with a rabid attitude, they’re going to do everything but help you. I discovered that recently when I was battling two phone companies that were, in turn, battling each other. I won’t bore you with all of the dirty details, but here are some quick facts:
You can’t make this stuff up, folks. I could give a lot more details but then you’d want to bang your head into the same wall I did. There were two shining points in this horrible experience – Diana and Carmen. Both women were problem-solvers that eventually got everything working. They showed empathy, apologized, and said “we won’t get off the phone until this is taken care of.” I was so grateful that I offered them my first born, but neither wanted a 22 year old and I don’t think my son appreciated the offer.
I also learned something about how to get things done when dealing with people. First of all, remember that people are tired, stressed, and trying their best with limited clarity and resources. Secondly, unless you have position power, aggressiveness will do nothing but cause people to dig in and undermine you. Nobody would give me their last name, even the representative in my home town, and all calls went through the 1-800 number. That means anybody can tell you anything – they can erase your trouble ticket while eating a sandwich and tell you your lines will be hooked back up tomorrow.
So, I realized that calling with an attitude or tone got absolutely nothing accomplished. When I finally started being calm, and repeating “Okay, is there something else we can do to solve this problem?” it finally got fixed. I also fake cried once, which I’m not proud of – but it worked more effectively than yelling.
If you have an issue with a company, try using some of the following lines with the call center representative:
Remember that there’s a heartbeat behind every person who helps you on the phone. They have families, and friends, and frustrations. They’re trying to help (well, most of them are — I would remove the supervisor who refused to help because he was too important), and they will generally respond to someone who shows them respect. If they don’t, or seem to enjoy saying “M’am, don’t get an attitude with me,” then simply hang up and call again. The beauty of the anonymous call center is you can always get a better representative.
Clean up the froth folks. Rabid behavior never got one creature on this earth a positive result. Just ask Ol’ Yeller.
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