How to win at the customer service game

Readers of this blog know that I love great customer service. I have discussed many times how easy it is to get in contact with company reps for fairly routine matters, such as accidental overcharges, product returns, and similar issues. And, most importantly, why it is worth effort. But, what if the many avenues available to you – Twitter, Facebook, Web forms, Email, Phone, and even snail mail don’t work? The key is escalation and I have a real-life example of how it just worked.

If you have been following my recent bout of identity theft lately, I had several credit card numbers stolen from me and used for renting from a major on-demand car rental service. Frustrating at best, disturbing at worst for how this was even possible. What was most troubling was that even after canceling my credit cards, fraudulent charges for the well-known on-demand car rental service still happened. Fast forward here to my contact with the company and why conventional avenues may be ineffective for serious issues, such as identity theft.

After calling and leaving a message at the company’s HQ, I did in contact with a local customer service rep. During that conversation, the rep gave me her email address. Now, not only did I have a contact, but essentially the code to get a hold of anyone in their organization. The email address was formatted first initial@companyname.com. For example, John Doe would be jdoe@company.com. Fast forwarding more details, I wasn’t happy with how my case was being handled, as the problems continued to persist. Time for action.

Executive level customer service

customer service

Trolling through that company’s website, I found their “Executive Team” listing. I was close now. Finding the CEO / President’s name was easy and now I had a plan. One carefully written, non-abusive, but to the point email (and snail mail follow-up) later, I received a call last week from one of their Execs. Success! While I didn’t ask for any compensation, I did have the great satisfaction of knowing that 1) I helped them with a problem on their end and 2) that they acknowledged the issue and 3) apologized. Case, hopefully, closed.

The lesson here, aside from hoping this doesn’t happen to you, is that if you are unhappy with the customer service you are receiving, do a little sluething and try to figure out how a company’s email system is set up and go to the top. Find a press release or some other contact the company has provided and try it out. Common conventions are first initial@company.com, lastname first initial@company.com, using an underscore “_” between those combinations, firstname lastname@company.com, or using a “.” between those. If after trying all of those combinations, go for the jugular and write an old-school letter. One of these avenues is bound to get some attention.

Used other methods to escalate customer service? Let me know what¬†they were as I’d like to hear them.

Posted in advocacy, customer service and tagged .

mschroed@hotmail.com

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