By Christina Brown
Whether you bought a defective product or were treated poorly by a company, you always have the right to good customer service.
It may be a hassle to return a product or complain about service, but when you do, you’re protecting your financial investment and you’re helping improve customer service and product development for everyone.
Here are some tips to make sure you get the customer service you deserve:
Pay attention to warranty information.
Most products have some kind of warranty and many have money-back guarantees, so check the fine print, and be sure to contact the company within the time frame stated. There’s nothing worse than discovering the problem you’ve put off dealing with for a few weeks is now no longer covered by warranty.
Keep all receipts and instruction manuals.
If you’re having problems with a product, be sure to go back and review the instructions. You may find a solution or at least a better idea of what the problem is when you look at the manual. Having the manual will also make it easier to identify the exact model number of your product. Keep your receipts, too. You’ll need them to demonstrate proof of purchase.
Voice your displeasure.
Try to communicate the problem in person or by phone. It’s a lot easier to answer questions and share your feelings with someone who doesn’t have time to write a carefully canned non-response letter. E-mail can be helpful if you are looking to keep a written transcript of the issue, but it’s not as personal.
You are more likely to get a positive response if you keep the conversation polite, friendly, and calm. But don’t be a doormat. You have paid good money for your product or service deserve to have your concerns addressed.
Keep trying until you get the response you want.
Sometimes you have to call back and talk to another customer service representative or ask to speak to a manager. Don’t be afraid to work your way up the chain.
No response at all? Consider social media.
If you’ve tried all of the traditional routes, you may want to try posting a friendly, but firm message on the company’s Facebook page or sending them a tweet on Twitter. A good company will be quick to respond to protect its public image.
Document every conversation.
Take good notes about any conversations you have with customer service, including who you talked to, when you talked, and what was discussed. This information will be helpful should a complaint need to be taken to the next level.
File a formal complaint.
If you’ve gotten no response (or an awful response) and your situation has not been corrected, you could consider filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or (in a worst-case scenario), consider a small claims lawsuit. If your complaint involves a safety concern, be sure to report it to SaferProducts.gov.
Thank a company for responding positively.
If you get a great response from the company, be sure to thank them. A positive resolution and a positive response will make it more likely the company will do even better next time.
Your money is worth fighting for, and it’s worth it to help prevent future bad experiences for other customers. Speak up and get the customer service you deserve!
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