The art of persuasion: 5 things you can say to get better service

Voronin/Shutterstock
Voronin/Shutterstock
It isn’t the horse that makes the wagon go. It’s the carrot you put in front of his nose.

That’s an old Russian proverb, and it reminds me how customer service people sometimes won’t go out of their way to help you unless you persuade them to.

Sure, a true professional will always do the job as required. But don’t you want better service? Here are some time-tested phrases you can use to get it.
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6 things a customer service representative won’t tell you

It’s not your fault. When you call a company’s “800” number with a problem, no one tells what to say – or what not to say.

There aren’t any customer-service etiquette classes you can take in school. Maybe there ought to be. Certainly, call center workers are trained to be courteous and professional, but they don’t always succeed.

I encounter customers on an almost daily basis who have been harassed, humiliated and hung up on by a company representative. Maybe it’s happened to you, too, and you’ve wondered: “What did I do to deserve this?”
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Want better service? 6 things you should never say

Several years ago, I wandered into an art gallery at a Colorado ski resort. I was drawn to the work of a young painter who specialized in wildlife art, and asked the gallery owner how I could contact the artist.

“Why do you want to do that?” the owner demanded, her voice turning icy.

“To see if she has any other paintings,” I stammered.

Here’s the thing you need to know about art galleries: They get paid a commission for each work they sell, so having customers contact artists directly is generally something to be avoided. But this particular gallery owner did not care to enlighten me.

“Get out!” she said, pointing to the door.
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