Note that these complaints are not mutually exclusive. Some of the worst customer-service experiences start by trying to navigate an unhelpful phone tree, and then waiting for a long time on hold upon choosing the option for speaking to a representative.
Worst things once you reach a customer service representative
What consumers can do about itHere are some tips for getting more out of your customer-service experiences:
- Take names (or ID numbers). Start every conversation by asking for the name of your representative -- or an ID number if he or she won't give a full name. Sometimes, just knowing they are being held accountable makes customer-service representatives more responsive.
- Ask to speak to a supervisor. Don't hesitate to work your way up the ladder. Chances are the rank-and-file representatives don't have the authority to solve any real problems anyway.
- Try online service centers. More and more companies are gearing themselves to servicing customers online rather than over the phone, and you might find it a more efficient use of your time to go that route.
- Check your alternatives. If you have a serious gripe with a company, check out what alternative providers there are. This is good to know before you take the next step.
- Threaten to cancel. Sometimes this is the only thing that gets a response, but don't threaten it until you know you have a viable alternative lined up.