We all know that the larger the company is, the more it seems like lip service rather than customer service. It seems the bigger they are, the more they think they can get away with. Name any big brand anywhere and the story will likely be the same. Expedia customer service is just one of many big brands that has been heavily criticized for poor levels of service. They are certainly not alone.
Customer service is regarded as a cost in corporate terms and not as a revenue generator. Therefore, despite ever-strengthening consumer rights, a company often views customer service as an overhead, not as something that makes them money. Despite many studies showing that companies who look after their customers receive much more loyalty, it seems too many businesses don’t believe it. There are exceptions of course, but they are exactly that. The exception not the rule.
So with all of that out of the way, just how do you get the best out of customer service? Let us revisit Expedia customer service and use them as an example. Regardless of what your issue is, there is a way to get the best out of them.
Collect your facts
It helps to write down in advance your issue, your supporting evidence, any remedial action you have already taken, the facts of the transaction and what you want from the company you’re contacting. Writing it down helps you focus your mind while on the call and helps you keep control of the call rather than allowing the agent to run it.
Having a written list of points also helps ensure you cover all of them and don’t forget any of them or allow emotion or frustration to cloud your case.
Make your case
We have all seen or heard those calls on YouTube and elsewhere that show a caller betting uber-frustrated with either an inept or unwilling customer service agent. Don’t be one of those. Be calm, be professional, make your case and be friendly. You always, always get more out of people by being nice. Even if it is through gritted teeth, you be nice!
Customer service agents can stop a call that turns abusive or where there is swearing involved. Don’t go there and don’t give them the excuse to stop the call. You both want a positive outcome so work towards that.
While fortune does always favor the brave, the same cannot be said for customer service. Whether its Expedia customer service or someone else, being reasonable is much more likely to get you a positive result over being bossy, angry, pushy or demanding. Set yourself a reasonable outcome and stick to that. Explain it to the agent, explain why it is reasonable and give the company time to deliver on that.
Watch your tone
Third-party communication mediums such as telephone, instant message, social media and email are all very well but you have to watch not just what you say but how you say it. While in your head, the argument you’re making might sound completely reasonable, but if you’re not looking at how it might come across, the effect it will have might surprise you. Always bear in mind how you are coming across and look at how your language or word choice might be interpreted by the customer service agent.
The last thing you want is to come across as arrogant or entitled, especially if you are neither of those things. The agent is much less likely to view you and your case favorably and you’re giving a completely false impression. Neither of which will get you the best outcome.
Allow the company time
While some customer service calls can be completed in one call, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes a company genuinely needs time to check records, check with distributors or allow its bureaucracy run its course. You need to give them a reasonable time to do all that.
However, that doesn’t mean you give them carte blanche to take their time. Find out how long they will need and pin the agent down to a time and date for either a callback or follow up call. If they don’t call you, you call them.
Despite fluctuating levels of quality, most companies want their customers to be happy. However, that doesn’t always mean you get what you want. If you’re not getting the answers you want or the response you were looking for, first keep calm. It isn’t the agent’s fault. They are likely a poorly paid worker in a call center somewhere with absolutely no power to help.
If you don’t get the level of service you expect, escalate. Ask to speak to a supervisor, team leader or whoever is next up the chain of command. Explain the situation (calmly) and explain what your desired outcome is. Then let them do what they do.
Choose your medium
Not that long ago, your only option when contacting a customer service center was to call them or email them. Now you have social media too. Follow the same rules, be reasonable, be polite and be aware of how you are acting, but use every channel at your disposal to get a response. If the call centers are always busy and you always seem to be in a queue, take to Twitter. Take to Facebook and use social channels to contact the company.
Despite viewing customer service as a cost, many companies view public relations as essential. Threaten that even slightly and they will respond quickly to stop any potentially bad PR. Again. Be reasonable and be polite, but get your message across.
If you don’t get anywhere with customer service, take your complaint elsewhere. The company’s Facebook page or Twitter is always a good place to start. As mentioned above, using social media often gets a faster response than calling anyway. Also don’t ignore good old fashioned snail mail or contacting the corporate headquarters directly.
In the case of Expedia customer service, that is:
- Expedia Corporate Office Headquarters HQ
- 3150 139th Ave. SE
- Bellevue, WA 98005 USA
- Corporate Phone Number: 1-425-679-7200
- Corporate Fax Number: 1-425-702-2722
- Corporate Email: [email protected]
- Tier 3 Customer Service: 866-510-9715
Getting the best out of any customer service center is a matter of planning, being reasonable and being polite. While you might feel anything but those things, the only way you will get what you want is by playing the game. With the right planning and execution, it’s a game you can win.