Getting The Most Out Of Customer Service

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TikaC's picture
Getting The Most Out Of Customer Service

You know, after reading some posts here (and in another forum totally unrelated to technology) about how some folks don't get the right customer service, and also my own experience on both sides of the coin, I thought I'd take a few minutes and share some things I've learned. I don't know if it'll help much in all cases, but I hope it will help in most if not some.

Be Specific In Reporting The Problem

This is going to be very hard by phone (voice) because it's been my experience that most customer service reps have cut me off with a script they are supposed to read to you, or if they do listen to you, they then ask "So how can I help you?" when  you already stated the problem! I find that going in email is a lot easier because of this. But I'll tell you two ways that I found worked better in some cases.


1. State the problem in one brief sentence.

2. State the equipment used, software/firmware versions, unit serial #, date of purchase, your name and the place you purchased from. Also state you can (and you should be prepared to) send them a copy of the invoice and/or reciept of purchase.

3. State the exact steps to take to reproduce the problem every time. If it's not replicable every time, estimate how often it occurs (every other boot up, only on damp days, only if near another electronic device, etc.) Also indicate if you installed any updates, what the URL of the update was and when you downloaded and installed it (in case they put up a new update hours or days later, as has happened, I'm sure).

4. If you get an email back stating to do what you did in step 3, look for something in the email that indicates a way to forward / contact a human rep. If none, then reply to the email (leaving any ticket # in the subject, and forward the ENTIRE message). Above the message, using NORMAL text (I found capitals were like shouting so I try not to do that anymore) that the steps given to you in the email have already been followed as shown in your initial email and that you're requesting that this email be forwarded to a technicial or technical support person.

By Phone:

1. Briefly state the problem.

2. Answer all questions the rep has about the situation. Even if you DID do what they are suggesting you do, tell them nicely that you followed those steps and what happened when you did.

3. If they get to the point where they "can't help you" ask for a tech support specialist. If they say they ARE one, ask for a supervisor (you could be on hold awhile). If they say there are none available, ask when one is and ask for their name, number and extension. Call that and leave a message. Keep trying until you get through. If after 3 or 4 tries, call the customer service center and ask for a supervisor, stating that you still are not able to resolve your issue through the normal channels.

4. Be sure also to have your invoce and other informaiton handy, including any warranty statements.

If You Have A "Special" Situation

There are some situations the customer may think is nothing special but are still "unsupported" by customer service. Even tech support might be a "special" situation (as I've found with another robot company - not WowWee).

If you need a part, make a request like so:

Please forward this to the person or department that may still have data sheets or other technical data on the product I have purchased. I will need their specific help with my problem.

I have a [product name] which is out of warranty and in need of a part in which you probably do not sell or have in stock yourselves:

[name part and it's numbers and location here, all info that is possible to give on the part].

I need this information in order to find the part at electronics [or whatever other] supply stores:

[State information you need here.]

Can you have someone look this information up for me? It would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.


[end of letter]

If you get a reply back that they do not have that information at this time, request the name and email or phone # and extension of their technical support department. And follow up there.

Or, they may still have the part (remote, for example) and give you a link to the store to buy it. If no link, ask them for a link to where the part can be purchased if they are offering to sell one to you.

Everything Must Be Done In Small Steps

All things must be done in small steps, not in one email and sometimes not in one call. Most places or people can't take in a lot of information at once without becoming hopelessly confused. Spoon feed the data to them as needed, being brief and yet specific. Being vague and run-on will only confuse them and make them want to get rid of you by giving up and saying "we can't help you."

One Good Experience I Had

I bought two LogicTech web cams on a BOGO sale at a local drug store. Great price for under $35! I never did use the other cam, though, and gave it to a friend. But one I did use and while under warranty it was making beeping noises which would come through in the final recorded file. Here is what happened when I contacted Customer Service via email via their web site:

1. I sent an email about the problem, along with the unit model.

2. They wanted me to try a couple things, and also wanted more information on the model/unit serial #, etc. So even though I tried those things, I composed an email and specified what happened when I tried it. This was to try using the cam without using the mic on the cam but the mic on the PC, also in using the newest version of the software. I also tried using other software than theirs for recording as well as theirs and fully tried all different things: Their software with the cam mic, their software without cam mic, other software with cam mic, other software without cam mic. And I did use their newest software version when testing.

3. They got back to me saying the cam is defective. They wanted an attachment of my receipt, along with my snail mail address. I went to the ticket # on their web site and supplied this information. They also gave me a link and said to choose a replacement cam and give them the model of the cam I'd like as a replacement, since the one I had is no longer manufactured. I picked out one with the same features as the one I had, but also had a couple other features on top of it.

4. About a week later I got the new cam and it's MUCH better! I wrote them a Thank You note to let them know of a job well done (how many do that? Probably not hardly ever, but I felt it was the least I could do after they pulled through all that).

I have had the greatest experience with LogiTech! :) I think folks if they search this forum they can see what happens when I contact WowWee about anything. So there are good and bad. But the LogiTech thing was an example of how you take things step by step, test things and give specifics on exactly what happened and what you did.

A Dead End Experience I Had

I had inquired at Manley/ToyQuest about getting a couple drive belts for the i-Que robot since one I bought from someone online had seriously worn and damaged belts. I told them I know the robot is out of warranty but wondered if they had the belts or know of a supplier for that size. They just sent back a brief message saying they don't carry parts for that robot. No other help. :( So my hunt goes on.

You might not always get what you want, but if you put some effort into it (which I admit I didn't pursue it further yet with the i-Que), you might at least find a way to get something fixed or working again.

Dealing With Bad Experiences

If I had a bad experience that after 24 hours still infuriates me, I'll probably email the company's rep supervisor or other up one teir and explain what happened. But I usually try to wait a day to cool off first. If something is taking too long to resolve, I try to go up one teir and see if someone else can help where the current reps can't. If still no go, sometimes it takes a few emails or calls to get ahold of someone who can at least be told (hopefully not too angrily) that they probably need to make some changes in how they do things in the future. Calling with solutions and suggestions is better than saying "You guys stink!" in 700 different phrases and words. :)


Hope this helps. I've also had to deal with customers at times and sometimes it's not easy. Especially if they already made up their mind they no longer like you. Get that all day long (nobody calls to give compliments or pats on the back, only to complain) and it can wear one down. Some customer service reps aren't as good at handling things as others. And we all know that outsourcing also causes more problems than it solves!