So no one in the customer-service department is listening to you. Now what?
If you said, “Let’s appeal to a higher authority” — you’re right.
The appeal is a time-honored, and often successful, way to get the service to which you’re entitled. Managers often have the time to consider requests that may have fallen through the cracks.
I’ve been handling customer complaints for years, and there’s a right way to appeal, and a wrong way.
Let’s begin with the wrong way.
What not to do:
Call employees incompetent. This is particularly true when dealing with overseas call centers. Don’t denigrate their English skills. Odds are, the supervisors already know there’s a communication problem. Instead, focus on the delivery of unacceptable customer service.
Complain about something they can’t control. There are any number of things, like weather or man-made disasters, that a company has no control over. Don’t berate a supervisor for it. You’re wasting everyone’s time.
Threaten to sue or never do business with the company again. There’s no incentive to help you if you go down that road. Instead, your complaint will either get tossed in the garbage or forwarded to the legal department. And the legal department is not where you want your grievance to go.
Instead, try this: Find the name of a customer service supervisor from the wiki. Start at the top of the list, with the junior-most name, usually the customer service manager.
What to do:
Write a brief, polite email. Drain the emotion from your appeal. Don’t lose your manners. Both of these will serve you well and ensure your case will be considered.
Be concise. Summarize your complaint and everything you’ve done so far to try to get it resolved. Be sure that you mention that you’ve already gone through channels; include the email chain, if appropriate. You might even throw in a line about knowing that the customer service representatives have “done all they can” and may not be empowered to help you.
Be patient. Managers have a lot on their plate. You shouldn’t expect to get an immediate response. Typically, it can take a week or more for a meaningful reply. Adjust your expectations.
There are more levels of appeal. I’ll cover them in a future post.
(Photo: tim c aynes/Flickr Creative Commons)