Editor’s Note: When You’re Pissed is a new regular how-to feature at NextGen MilSpouse. This column aims to give our readers practical advice on how to calmly handle those moments when you’re frustrated, upset or down-right pissed off.
Does opening your cable bill or phone bill piss you off because it keeps going up? Sorry, your promotional period is up. Sorry, your phone bill went up because we switched our plans that we offer and you have an old plan. Seriously? I have a knot in my stomach right now because right there on my current cable bill it says, “The promotional discount you have been receiving ends 3/1/15.” AHHH!
First, it took them 4 out of the 12 months to even get the package pricing I was promised right. Second, I just hate calling customer service. I believe they are highly trained in tactics to completely maneuver around any valid points you bring up about them jacking up rates and that they receive bonuses for not keeping you as a customer.
As someone who worked customer service for one of the nation’s top cellphone providers, I can tell you we aren’t not trained to manipulate you (ever hear of upselling?). And we really don’t receive bonuses for making customers so angry they leave. So, how can you get what you want without being manipulated by your service providers? Follow some simple rules.
When You’re Pissed: 6 Steps to Get What You Want From Your Service Providers
Check Your Emotions at the Door. Your attitude will get you far. Go through the 5 stages of pissed off before you get on the phone with customer service: Shock; Disbelief; Confusion; Denial; Pissed Off.
Once you feel the red leave your face and your hands are steady, it is safe to call. The person on the other end of the line is a customer service agent (CSA), not the president of the company. They are not in control of the company and they do not make the rules. BUT, the nicer you are to them, the better service you’ll get. Customer service agents usually have a little bit of leeway when it comes to bending the rules or getting you a good deal, but they do not go out of their way to help someone who’s a jerk on the phone.
If you do happen to get one of the CSAs who flat out doesn’t want to do anything for you no matter how nice you are, excuse yourself from the call, hang up and try again.
Know What You Want. Knowing what you want out of the call will help get your mind and attitude in the right state. When you’re confident that you’re going to get your old rate back or upgrade to a new plan for the new customer only rate, you’re more likely to get it. It also helps to keep the conversation on track. CSAs are great at pointing out other deals that are going on or offering you something that you really don’t need or want. This will help you stay on point no matter what they throw at you.
Research Other Options. It’s no secret that cable and satellite providers are always competing against each other; but they are also hurting right now due to other convenient options like Netflix and Hulu. Cellphone providers are also jumping in on the television game. Be aware of all of the pricing options available to you. Keep an eye on cellphone plans too. When one major provider starts to offer something, usually the others follow suit to stay competitive.
You Deserve a Better Rate. You know you do, but you have to tell the customer service agent on the phone why you do. Have you been a loyal customer? Pay your bill on time? As military families we often move, have you been able to stay with the same provider across several different states? Loyalty can go a long way in negotiating a better rate. If it doesn’t, break out your research from step 3. Usually they’ll try to find a comparable rate to their competitors to keep you.
Get Off the Mouse Wheel. If you’re stuck on the phone going in circles with a representative who “doesn’t know,” “can’t do that,” or comes up with every other excuse under the sun, ask to speak to a manager or ask to be transferred to the cancellations department. Cancellations department? You bet! They tend to have a few more deals they can offer you to keep you as a loyal customer that the other departments aren’t able to.
I threatened to leave my cable company when I was in Illinois and I actually had a CSA say, “That’s fine with me!” And he transferred me right to cancellations rather than try and negotiate with me! When I spoke to a cancellations representative about what was going on, she apologized and was able to offer me a great deal to keep me a customer.
It’s important that you keep your attitude in check! You better believe they type in notes in your account about the call before they transfer you. You’ll have better luck taking it to the next level if you remain your pleasant self.
Put Your Issue “On the Line.” My favorite part of the movie the “Internship” is where Vince Vaughn’s character calls online “On the Line.” I can’t be the only one who walks around like a smart ass saying that they need to get on the line.
Anyway, social media can be a last ditch resort to putting your issue out there and hoping it gets resolved. I’m not a fan of doing this personally, but if you’ve got something serious going on and the CSA is being a complete monster…or maybe you can’t even reach a CSA because you’re lost in automated menu hell, put your issue on the line.
Twitter is probably more effective than Facebook, but with the way things spread like wildfire on social media, you’re bound to get some attention from the company you’re having an issue with. They have employees dedicated to protecting their online image and they certainly don’t want little you destroying that with a viral post.
Now that I’ve laid out the effective steps to help you get the rate you deserve when your provider jacks it up, I hope I can follow my own advice when I call my cable company.
I’m a very excitable person. Especially when I’m initially told that I can’t get what I want. I feel my voice get a little shaky and I know I need to go ahead and apologize to the person on the other end of the line and let them know that any frustration I demonstrate is not directed at them personally. That usually gets me some brownie points and the call tends to move toward the, “here’s what we can do for you” direction. Bingo!