Connecticut Better Business Bureau Says Keep Your Cool When Dealing with Customer Service Agents

The correct attitude can make the difference between success and frustration when you have a problem

Wallingford, CT, April 18, 2009 --( How important is customer service to consumers? It is important enough that people may ask a colleague or friend about their experience before deciding to do business with certain goods and service providers. The poor quality of customer service is steering away a growing number of consumers from certain businesses, ranging from computer manufacturers to cellular telephone companies.

Some companies are keenly aware of the importance of their customer service, and they go to great lengths to ensure clients are satisfied in a polite, timely and satisfactory manner, so that a problem may be turned into an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with clients.

An unhappy customer’s attitude is one element that may determine how quickly a problem can be resolved.

This means keeping your emotions in check and a cool head, avoiding profanities and focusing your message. The customer service agent is there to help solve problems and is trying to negotiate an outcome to keep the consumer as a client.

That said, it is important to be polite but firm. Consumers must be clear about their problem and what they would like as a settlement.

Connecticut Better Business Bureau offers the following advice to help make problem resolution efforts as fruitful and trouble-free as possible:

Prepare, and keep notes:
You can help save time trying to resolve a problem by writing out details of your complaint, dates involved and any earlier attempts to resolve the issues. It is just as important when you begin speaking with a customer agent to ask for his or her employee number and call center location in case you get cut off, encounter rude service and for future reference. All of this should be done before describing your problem. In some cases, client service personnel may disconnect a consumer who asks to speak with a supervisor. Finally, don’t forget to ask for a case reference number.

Be clear when explaining your problem:
The fastest way to solve your problem is by being clear and concise, rather than rambling on about issues which are not directly related to your problem. Exceptions, however, would be, for example, if you took time off from work to be home for a service call that was canceled without the company informing you. It helps the customer service agent understand how frustrating the problem has been and more important, how their company’s actions have had a negative impact on your life. The key is to keep it simple and not ramble.

Making your problem a “win-win” situation:
The consumer’s choice of wording is vital in settling a problem. Tell the customer service agent that the outcome of the problem may determine whether you do business with their company, but that you’d prefer a win-win situation, and ask how you may both work together to accomplish that.

If you are not satisfied, take your problem to a higher authority:
A customer service representative may not have the power or flexibility to solve your problem, in which case, ask to speak with a supervisor. If you are not having any luck with the supervisor, some companies have a dispute resolution or customer retention department to help settle problems to keep you as a loyal customer. If that doesn’t work, contact the district manager, then a corporate manager. In some cases, the consumer may want to write a letter to the corporate headquarters if all else fails.

None of this guarantees settlement of your problem to your satisfaction, but in many cases you can get a timely and reasonable response to your requests. The end result may be total satisfaction and even an incentive, rebate or discount for having to spend time trying to resolve a problem caused by the company. Ask whether the company can offer you something for your problems, such as a rebate for “down time” of an appliance or service.

For more tips on being a smart shopper, visit

Better Business Bureau CT
Howard Schwartz
203-279-2700 ext. 103
94 South Turnpike Rd
Wallingford, CT 06492