[Podcast Ep.6]: 19 Tips for Dealing With Difficult Customer Service Situations


There are some things in life that are just difficult to deal with.

And it doesn't matter how "nice" or gorgeously assertive you are, there are still things that can happen that just frustrate the living daylights out of you.

We've all been there.

In this podcast episode, I'm giving you some key tips on handling these difficult scenarios that will inevitably rise up in your life if you're human (and I'm guessing you are if you're reading this).

I'm going to be sharing 2 recent situations I encountered and how I dealt with them, the exact steps I took, and the things I kept in mind to keep it professional so you know what to watch for.

No matter what, you always want to remember that we're all human & that means we all make mistakes on occasion - yes, even at work. So when you're dealing with another business or company who hasn't fulfilled what they said they would or done what they said they would, keep this in mind.

However, what you'll find is that some companies go above & beyond to accommodate remedying their mistake, while others are nonchalant and force you to take more assertive means.

Show Notes

Story 1- Time Warner Cable Issue with Modem

Story 2 - ShoeDazzle Shoe Order

The first and foremost thing that is important is picking your battles. Clearly, if $5 matters to you, pursue. If it doesn't, you can let it go. The rule is if you can let it go and not think about it again, then do. If it's bugging you, put your big girl panties on & handle it.

Things to keep in mind and/or ask when speaking with customer service reps:

  1. Is the call or conversation being recorded?
  2. If it is, good - you'll have record of it. If not, request that it be. If you can't, try to record it yourself.
  3. Ask for the employee ID # (or something similar) for your own record later
  4. Do exactly as they ask you to do. Why? Because your case later, should something happen, hinges on you doing exactly as instructed. It's the only thing that will make the difference should a claim open up later or a problem arise.
  5. Remember that it doesn't just matter what kind of business person you are or worker; it matters what kind of customer you are too - it says a lot about your character.

Rules for making initial complaints:

  1. Keep your voice down
  2. Remember the person you're speaking with isn't the one who gave you bad information (more than likely)
  3. Treat the person with respect
  4. Try not to curse
  5. Be stern about what options you'd like to explore and/or what you want or need as the customer
  6. Don't be afraid to ask for a supervisor
  7. Write down claim ID's and or other identifiers that are attached to your claim(s)
  8. Get next steps from that supervisor or get them to resolve your issue
  9. Write down whatever it is they promise you and the date

Rules for secondary and tertiary complaints:

Obviously, if you have to call back a second or third time for something, your frustration level is already elevated.

Keep these things in mind:

  1. Calmly explain the situation you're having and what you want up front (i.e. to speak to a supervisor or manager)
  2. Give the claim information and employee ID's you captured from your initial call
  3. Get next steps
  4. Take action on those steps
  5. Wait & be patient

My outcomes:

Time Warner Cable - Received a call from them telling me I would be reimbursed immediately. The recorded call was pulled and I was right and the employee in that department was reported to their manager/supervisor because it was not only unprofessional, but it was bad advice & not what they're trained to say.

ShoeDazzle - I received a credit for the shoe purchase into my account and was given a return label to return them with no charge to me (free shipping). I also received a survey right after the call asking me how the rep did & to rate my customer service call.

Lesson Learned

"When we're assertive and pursue the things that matter to us, we'll see results. Even if they aren't the ones we seek, we'll feel good knowing we did everything we could." --Tamisha Ford

I hope you liked this episode & got something helpful out of it. If you want to take a powerful yet relevant eCourse on assertiveness, check out my course Assurance here.

Photography by Mario Testino