Like it or not, customer service representatives don't exist to act as your personal grievance sounding board — they're there to resolve problems customers encounter. Speak their language and make action-based requests to get better service.
Photo by Seattle Municipal Archive.
Over at Computer Zen, blogger Scott Hanselman put together a great list of hacks for more efficient airline travel, but in doing so also highlighted an excellent tip that applies to working with customer service at virtually any industry you might deal with. Using terms and language that fits the industry and making clear and actionable requests is the path to customer service happiness:
Make their job easy: Speak their language and tell them what they can do to get you out of their hair. Refer to flights by number when calling reservations, it saves huge amounts of time. For example, today I called United and I said:
"Hi, I'm on delayed United 686 to LGA from Chicago. Can you get me on standby on United 680?"
Simple and sweet. I noted that UA680 was the FIRST of the 6 flights delayed and the next one to leave. I made a simple, clear request that was easy to grant. I told them where I was, what happened, and what I needed all in one breath. You want to ask questions where the easiest answer is "sure!"
Three important things are happening in the above example. He was informed about what was going on, he knew what he wanted, and he didn't waste any time telling the customer service representative how mad he was that the flight was delayed, what impact the delay would have on his life, or any other time-wasting monologues. If you want to vent, write a letter to the company. If you want results right then, tell the customer service representative explicitly what you would like done to resolve the issue.
For more airline travel tips, check out the full post at the link below. Have a trick for dealing with customer service either from the customer or the rep side of things? Let's hear about it in the comments.