There comes a time when, as a customer, you have to stand your ground.
It’s a big change from childhood attitudes, where you’re expected to be seen and not heard. It tends to carry through in the early part of life. You go with the flow, make the best of bad situations and a thousand and one other ways of behaving that essentially mean “capitulate”. You tolerate bad service; you tolerate people making mistakes and you having to rectify them.
Over time, you learn you don’t have to do any of those things. You find your voice.
Of course, there is the downside of this to consider. Take this newfound freedom in your own convictions and you soon become a nightmare customer; easy fodder for internet forums of staff telling stories about their worst experiences. You’ll soon discover that shouting and screaming doesn’t elicit the best response; that sometimes it’s better to lead with the carrot rather than the stick.
Can you balance the two different spheres? Is it possible to stand up for yourself and assert your authority, without delving into the world of becoming the nightmare customer that no one wants to deal with?
1) Be aware of your state of mind.
If you feel the need to vent at a customer service representative, then take a moment and assess how you’re feeling. Are you genuinely annoyed with something that has happened with that particular company? Or are you just furious with something else in life, and using this as an outlet?
A perfect example is when you’re moving house – something we all recognize as an inherently stressful time. With your threshold for tolerance lowered, you can find yourself wanting to shout at the moving company for being ten minutes late. But is the lateness actually the issue itself? Or is it just your mindset at the time? Always take a deep breath and look at the surrounding circumstances and how they might be influencing your reactions.
2) Shouting is never the answer.
In the above example, if you’re not careful you find yourself shouting at one the best local moving companies because you’re otherwise not feeling yourself. Hopefully, being aware of your state of mind will have calmed you – but what if you still decide you’re correct?
Sticking with the home move theme: let’s say your internet supplier has not switched on your connection when they said they would. It’s going to be three days before they can rectify the issue. Should you pick up the phone and shout?
The answer is never. Even though you have a point, have a right to say your piece, shouting is never the answer. It’s not going to make anyone want to help you, it’s not going to change the outcome or magically turn your broadband on. Always try and keep your calm while still expressing your displeasure.
3) Help them to help you.
Rather than seeing a customer service problem as you versus the company, try and see it as you and the person you’re dealing with teaming up. You’re going to be able to find a solution that suits both of you, working together rather than against one another. This simple switch in mindset can keep you on the reasonable side of what you expect from a company – and getting a better service as a result.