I think I have mentioned (more than once, actually) my confrontational and often absurd conversations with customer service people. Honestly, I think I get this from my father—I have zero tolerance for BS or excuses, and when I start to hear customer service people with their monotones and obvious scripts, I can’t help but start to give them a hard time. It literally is like blood in the water for me, and Stephan finds the ensuing banter unendingly hilarious. Sometimes when he doesn't get what he wants, he just hands the phone to me and stands back while I Hulk out.
Case in point: last week I got a “courtesy call” from my insurance company for a medical procedure, letting me know that the facility providing the procedure was out of network and did I know about the benefits of staying in network? This would have been an awesome call to receive, had I not gotten it TWO HOURS AFTER I GOT HOME FROM THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE.
I don’t know if it was the post-Propofol hangover (I totally get where Michael Jackson was coming from with that whole “milk” thing now, by the way. Best drug EVER!), but as soon as I heard the message, I was filled with so much rage it was almost funny. I called the insurance company and chewed out this lady named Antoinette until after the company was closed, and my rage must have worked, because this week I got a letter from her boss, saying that they had CHANGED THEIR POLICY because of my request, so this hopefully will never happen to anyone again. That’s right—without my even having to write the scathing letter I was cooking up in my mind, they used me (and my phonecall, which I made sure was being recorded by asking this numerous times and then requesting that they review the recording for teaching purposes) as an example. Hopefully no one else gets that aggravating phonecall and falls into a trap of missed benefits again.
All that is to say, I’m not even sure that this is a good quality, but if you want customer service, the key is to personalize. You must make a personal connection to the customer service rep. You must say “How would you feel if this happened to you?” You must use their name, and the name of their supervisor, and their supervisor’s supervisor. You must mention that your next stop will be social media, and that you’re sure your friends and family will be thrilled to have a reason to avoid their company. You must ask over and over again-- "Are you proud of the job you're doing right now? Is this what you wanted to do with your life?" You must not stop until you get what you want and then some.
You think I am joking about this, but I have good reason to believe that my repeated customer service calls, emails, and tweets played a part in getting the CEO of a major elevator company fired last summer. I made so much noise for so long, someone couldn’t take it anymore. Outcome: my elevator problem finally went away (though my HOA later fired them for still being awful), plus I had the absolute Teutonic satisfaction of knowing that there actually was a repercussion for the company’s poor actions. Satisfying!
So, the next time you get screwed over by a company, I urge you to drop all sense of reason and decorum. Start talking crap, and do not stop until you get what you want. Oh, and if that doesn’t work, please let me know and I will be happy to tweet the company for you. I really find this kind of thing very amusing.