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7 tips for better cable/Internet customer service

201602023_customerservice_blogCalling your cable/Internet company can be a nightmare: Endless menu options, long wait times, and frustrating negotiations with representatives. Before you tear out your hair, follow CUB’s tips to ensure a smooth customer service call.

1.) Advocate for yourself

Cable/Internet is one of the few industries where the longer you are a customer, the more you get charged. (So much for loyalty, huh?) Often new customers get better promotional deals, and older customers are kicked onto higher rates each year.

The good news is that if you are vigilant in calling customer service, you can often get one of those better deals.  It takes some patience and assertiveness, though.  Clearly express your problem and your desired outcome.  Stay on topic, and don’t get derailed by a representative trying to offer you new, unwanted services.

2.) Take a deep breath.

As the saying goes, you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.  Calling customer service can be an extremely frustrating situation, but you won’t make things better by flying off the handle.  Take a few deep breaths, before you calmly— and nicely— communicate your needs.   A little kindness will go far.

3.) Call at the right time

One study showed that customers who called between 9 and 11 a.m. got the fastest response time.  It’s no guarantee, but it can’t hurt to try calling at these off-peak times.

4.) Be prepared.

Prior to calling a customer service representative, know exactly what your goal is.  Make sure you know the costs, dates, components and terms of your current contract or service.  Also, have your account numbers, bills, and other information readily available.   Do your homework on what other offers are available in your area (see tip #6) and track your own usage so you know exactly how much you should be paying for service.

5.) Calmly escalate.

If you feel like you are not getting the answer you want, or that your customer service representative cannot help you, politely ask to speak with a supervisor.  The key here is to keep your cool while still being assertive.

Also consider taking your concerns to social media if you don’t get results through a call. Companies hate bad PR, and Twitter and Facebook can be an effective forum for your grievance.

6.) Mention you might take business elsewhere.

If you are truly getting nowhere, mention that you are considering taking your business elsewhere. Oftentimes, you will be transferred to a “retention specialist” who will be able to offer you a better deal or solve your problem more quickly.

7.) Wrap it up

As you finish your call, make sure to restate the issue, the solution, and timing to avoid confusion and more calls later.  Right down all pertinent information to your case and the times/dates you called.