What to Avoid if You Want Better Customer Service

by Chris Bjorklund


It’s extremely frustrating when you keep having the same problem over and over again with a service provider. For three weeks in a row, the cashier at my supermarket made mistakes and posted duplicate charges to my credit card. Each time required an extra trip or two to customer service and several phone calls to the store and the bank. When it happened the third time, I was tempted to violate my own guidelines for what not to do when you want better customer service…but I didn’t.

What I know for sure from years of helping consumers resolve complaints is that first, it’s a mistake to lose your temper. That’s the fastest way to alienate the person who may have the ability to fix the problem. Rage puts a potential ally on the defensive and makes you the problem.

Another thing to avoid is threatening to never do business with the company again. Think about it. Will that incentivize the customer service representative if you’ve already decided to blow them off and shop elsewhere? It’s better to suggest solutions than to make threats.

Some consumer advocates recommend against saying you’ll contact the company’s CEO when you’re complaining about a product or service. Going the CEO route could be a waste of time. Instead, it’s often more effective to find the top executive in charge of that specific part of the operation. To help with that, a group called The Elliott Report keeps a large database of contact information for executives in charge of customer service at major companies. It’s organized by industry and companies are also rated for their responsiveness to consumers. 

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